Showstoppers: The Music of the Night

At present I absolutely
want to paint a starry sky. It often seems
to me that night is still more richly coloured
than the day; having hues of the most intense
violets, blues and greens. If only you pay
attention to it you will see that certain
stars are lemon-yellow, others pink or a green,
blue and forget-me-not brilliance. And without
my expatiating on this theme it is obvious
that putting little white dots on the blue-black
is not enough to paint a starry sky
.” — Vincent can Gogh, in a letter to his sister

The Museum of Modern Art is currently showing “Van Gogh and the Colors of the Night.” While the exhibition is an opportunity to showcase Starry Night, one of the most famous paintings in MoMA’s collection, it also brings to view a surprising number of early works—paintings done in Holland, before the artist went to France. According to MoMA: “This exhibition will present new insight into van Gogh’s depictions of
night landscapes, interior scenes, and the effects of both gaslight and
natural light on their surroundings.”

A total of 23 works are included from the somber-toned interior, Potato Eaters to the swirling vision of Starry Night. “Van Gogh discovered new colors everywhere, especially at night,” says Roberta Smith in The New York Times. “Peripatetically, briefly yet fulsomely, this show explores his special
relationship with darkness. It provides a view of the tenderness,
urgency and brilliance at the core of his art, as well as the openness
to nature that set it aflame.”

“The Colors of the Night” will be showing through January 5, 2009. You can view an online version right here. For more information, visit the museum’s website.

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