Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

“The Starry Night” by Vincent van Gogh

Van Gogh - Starry Night - Google Art Project

“The Starry Night” by Vincent van Gogh

“The Starry Night” by Vincent van Gogh depicts the view from the east-facing window of Van Gogh’s asylum room at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, just before sunrise, with the addition of an idealised village. “The Starry Night” is regarded as one of Van Gogh’s most beautiful works and is one of the most recognised paintings in the history of Western culture.

In 1888 Van Gogh had a breakdown that resulted in the self-mutilation of his left ear, and he voluntarily admitted himself to the Saint-Paul-de-Mausole lunatic asylum. The asylum was housed in a former monastery which catered to the wealthy and was less than half full when Van Gogh arrived. He was thus allowed to occupy a second-story bedroom and to also use a ground-floor room as a painting studio. During the year Van Gogh stayed at the asylum, he produced some of the best-known works, including the Irises, many self-portraits and The Starry Night.

Vincent Willem van Gogh is among the most famous and influential figures in the history of Western art. Van Gogh was unsuccessful during his lifetime and was considered a madman and a failure. He created about 2,100 artworks, including around 860 oil paintings, most of them in the last two years of his life. They were characterised by bold colours and dramatic, impulsive and expressive brushwork that contributed to the foundations of modern art.


  • Why is this one of the most recognised paintings in the history of Western culture?
  • How do the stars in this painting compare to “Starry Night Over the Rhône”?

Exploring Vincent van Gogh

The Starry Night

  • Title:               The Starry Night
  • Artist:             Vincent van Gogh
  • Year:               1889
  • Medium:        Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions   73.7 cm × 92.1 cm (29 in × 36 1⁄4 in)
  • Museum:        Museum of Modern Art, New York City

Vincent van Gogh