The night sky is filled with multiple tones with the lowest edge (along with the horizon) being the brightest followed by another tone and terminated by a darker tone that signifies darkness. The stars have been done in more than one color and have surrounding legions of various sizes and colors indicating a difference in their luminosity. The first element that strikes the viewer is the peace and tranquility depicted in the picture. The piece has been done in a nocturnal setting and there is no trace of any human activity anywhere on the canvas.
The only reminder that human beings exist in the presence of houses and a steeple near the middle of the canvas. The depiction of the scene truly makes it seem like hung in time without the ability to go either forward or backward. The rural settings of the painting and its overall portrayal depict a scene that must exist for hours in the night where this painting was commissioned. Hence, one could ideally sit for hours looking out on to this scene without any danger of its disappearance.
Perhaps one large difference between photography and painting is the matter of fact portrayal versus the introduction of feeling and personalization respectively. The other element that warrants attention in this painting is the use of sharp colors such that various forms seem well separated from each other. The houses are well defined even the houses in the background of the village. Similarly, the tones in the sky are highly well defined and are distinct from the horizon. The tree to the left towering to the top is also well defined in both shape and color.
This is unlike the other trees depicted in the grove that is vague. In addition, the stars in the sky and the moon, as well as their luminescence, are well defined such that they are separable from the neighboring sky. Overall, this serves to posit distinction and then it serves to enhance it at the same time creating a feeling of separation. When the historical dimensions of this piece by Van Gogh are explored, it becomes clear that Van Gogh commissioned this piece when present in a sanatorium.
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