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And yet one family welcomed Vincent and encouraged his work. In many respects, members of Roulin family were Vincent's only friends in Arles. Always challenged to find willing subjects for his portraits, Vincent found Roulins to be extremely accommodating and patient. In total, Van Gogh painted or sketched 25 works of Roulin family, including one of Augustine Roulin. Thanks to kindness shown toward this eccentric and troubled painter by old postman, Joseph Roulin, and his family, Vincent was able to produce some of his most beloved works.
During Van Gogh’s period of illness he was confined first to Arles hospital, then to asylum at Saint-Rémy, where, in 1889, he painted swirling, climactic Starry Night. Starry Night is probably Vincent Van Gogh's most famous painting. Instantly recognizable because of its unique style, this work has been subject of poetry, fiction, CD-ROMs as well as well known song "Vincent" or "Starry, Starry Night" by Don McLean.
While there's no denying popularity of Starry Night, it's also interesting to note that there is very little known about Vincent's own feelings toward this work. This is mainly due to fact that he only mentions it in his letters to Theo twice, and then only in passing. In his correspondence with his brother, Vincent would often discuss specific works in great detail, but not so in case of Starry Night. Why? It's difficult to say. Some people have made stylistic comparisons to Vincent's other well-known and equally turbulent Seascape At Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. Does tumultuous style of these works reflect a tortured mind? Or is there something more we can read within whorls Vincent's raging night sky? This is what makes Starry Night not only Vincent's most famous work, but also one of its most frequently interpreted in terms of its meaning and importance.
Some people have speculated about eleven stars in painting. While it's true that Vincent didn't have same religious fervor in 1889 when he painted work as he did in his earlier years, there is a possibility that story of Joseph in Old Testament may have had an influence on composition of work.
'Look, I have had another dream' he said, 'I thought I saw sun, moon and eleven stars, bowing to me.' -Genesis 37:9
Whatever interpretations or underlying meanings, Starry Night stands out as one of most important works of art produced in nineteenth century. After painting Wheatfield with Crows during last three months of his life in 1890, Van Gogh’s work began projecting ominous overtones of distress. Two days later, he shot himself, dying in arms of his brother shortly after.
Some of Van Gogh’s other notable paintings include, The Seine Bridge at Asnières, Old Man With His Head In His Hands and The Reaper.
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