Starry Night: Vincent van Gogh and Anne Sexton

Vincent van Gogh is one of the most famous artists of all time.He completed many paintings that have become world-renown, even by the average layman.According to one critic, Van Gogh was filled with lonely feelings and endless creative energy.He wasn’t a successful artist during his life.He only sold one painting and depended on his brother for support.In 1889, van Gogh completed Starry Night, which displays how his troubled spirit and brilliant mind revealed themselves in his painting.(Halls 1)
P. Pettingell explains that Anne Sexton became a poet as a result of her deteriorating mental state.Her husband was often away on business, and she was confused about her role as a mother.When she had a mental breakdown, she was diagnosed as a hysteric and was admitted to a hospital.Her psychologist urged her to write verses about her feelings and experiences. Sexton’s poem, Starry Night, is her reaction after studying van Gogh’s painting of the same title.The artwork inspired her to write this poem and to express in words what she saw in the painting.
When comparing van Gogh’s Starry Night to Sexton’s Starry Night, I notice that the poem and the painting are similar in many ways.Anne Sexton begins her poem by saying, “The town does not exist”.When looking at the painting, the town is one thing that is does not catch the eye immediately.It could be overlooked easily because in proportion to the sky and the large dark tree, the town is quite small.Sexton describes the town as silent.Van Gogh painted the town to be so.He wanted the attention of the viewer to be drawn to other points.Perhaps the insignificance of the town reflects van Gogh’s thoughts on how the world viewed him.He might have felt inferior to all other people who were shown as the stars in the painting.
When Sexton moves her analysis up to the sky, her descriptions become more vivid.She says, “It moves.They are all alive.”The str…


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