Vincent's Starry Night
- This has been transferred to this page from a page discussing "Picture of the Year" candidates.
You have the wrong version of this picture up for vote.
The version on the left (No 1.) is the picture that has been honoured as "one of the finest on Wiki". However, as its label informs you, it has been "adjusted". And it is a very poor adjustment!
The editor who did this may have looked at a few images on the web, or even in books. But it isn't right! The blue in the picture has been enhanced at the expense of all the other colours. I suspect it was an automatic digital adjustment.
- When I look at Image No 1. I see a blue that is known as "French Ultramarine". Vincent would have had it in his paintbox. All the blue parts are French Ultramarine, some darker, some lighter and some dirty, as if Ultramarine was mixed with black, brown or white to get every blue in that picture.
- When I look at image No 2. I see mainly Prussian Blue (a much cheaper colour than Ultramarine...the cost of every colour was different, and the cost really mattered to someone as poor as Vincent.) However, I also see Ultramarine, Cerulean Blue and Cobalt Blue. Vincent has used every blue in his paint box.
- When I look at the little stripy house in the foreground, in image No 1. I see dirty brown, dirty blueish grey and dirty greenish colour.
- In No 2. I see stripes of Cobalt and White, Green and Crimson. The crimson looks transparent (that is the way crimson is. All the paints have different densities.)
- In painting No 1., the pine tree is painted in dirty green, darker dirty green and muddy greenish brown.
- In painting No 2., the pine tree is painted in brushstrokes of green, black and Burnt Siena (reddish brown). All these colours were put on straight out of the tube, no white, no mixing. That was the way Vincent did it.
- In painting No 1. The famous stars are dirty yellow, dark dirty orange, indeterminate pale green and lots of stark white.
- In painting No 2. You can see that Vincent employed every yellow that he had in his paint box- Chrome yellow, Cadmium Yellow, Naples Yellow, Yellow Ochre, a little pale green (mixed with white) and very carefully placed white brushstrokes which can easily be distinguished from the pale yellow brushstrokes which are adjacent. This subtlety has all been lost in the "adjusted" picture.
I think that the adjustment may have been made because the editor thought there was an overall yellowish tone that needed to be got rid of. Well, the painting would have been varnished. The varnish always goes a bit yellowish. But if you try to remove it digitally, and make your blues bluer, Then it is at the expense of all the other colours. None of the colours in File No 1. is correct.
I know that people love this painting. It is possible that it will become image of the year, I suppose. That would be most unfortunate, because this image doesn't do justice to Vincent van Gogh!
Vincent van Gogh very rarely "mixed" paints to get an "exact" colour. He mixed his paints with black and white to get lighter or darker shades, but he didn't mix the colours together very much at all. He would lay brushstrokes of different colours side by side, and let the eye do the mixing. This is why I know "for sure" that the muddy greenish shades in the No 1. tree are wrong, and the pure black, pure green and pure Burnt Siena in the other picture are right.
I suggest that you open two windows, get up the two images, enlarge them and compare a small section, say, the village. Provided you have your computer balance right, you'll see immediately what I mean!