“The Starry Night“ is one of Vincent van Gogh's most renowned paintings, depicting a nighttime view from his sanitarium room window in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. Although painted from memory during the day, it's based on a real view which Van Gogh sketched and painted in multiple variations. The painting has resided at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City since 1941.
In 1888, Van Gogh painted “Starry Night Over the Rhone,“ mentioning in his writings the comfort he derived from painting the stars at night. In 1889, after a significant personal crisis, he considered sending “The Starry Night“ to his brother, Theo, in Paris. It was one of many works capturing the view from his sanitarium window, depicting it under various conditions: sunrise, moonrise, clear days, and rainy days. A recurring element in these paintings is the diagonal line of the Alpilles mountains and often, the presence of cypress trees.
In June 1889, Van Gogh described a “starry sky“ painting. “The Starry Night“ is unique as the only nighttime view in this series from his bedroom. He remarked on seeing the “morning star“ prominently one morning, which researchers confirmed could have been Venus in that season. Despite the moon in “The Starry Night“ being stylized, records suggest it should've been in a different phase. The village depicted wasn’t directly visible from his window but was instead inspired by sketches of Saint-Rémy and memories of Dutch landscapes from his past.