The Originality of The Starry Night By Vincent Van Gogh, 1889
The Starry Night is a painting done by the Dutch Post-Impressionist Vincent van Gogh. In this painting, Gogh portrays the night view outside his sanitarium room in Saint-Remy-De-Provence (Costache, 2012). This painting rose to the peak of his achievements and is considered to be one of the most-known paintings in modern culture with the most replicated and sought-after prints. This is one of the most-detailed paintings that almost everyone finds difficult to shy away from.
The Starry Night is a representational painting of the evening and the night. It is said that from early on, Gogh was always astounded by the mood that was conjured up by the evening and the night. To him, the evening and the night was the moment for creativity and self-recreation (The collection, 2013). He took this as the time to look over the day’s events. He then took his time to capture all the events, experiences, and what he thought of them through painting.
His paintings are all about how one can play around with colors and the brush to come up with the unimaginable (Greenberg & Patterson, 2008). In The Starry Night, the moon and the stars are balls of orange-yellow light that brings out the radioactive nature in them. The clouds are in shades of white coil and whirl into an atmospheric surf. The ambient blue of unearthly flow of the town below adds intensity to the precision of the picture.
However, upon deep analysis of this picture, you will see that the precision of color in this painting is an expression of Gogh’s illness. It was the “madness” that pulled him away from his painting work. With this painting, Gogh tries not to come into terms with the reality. The stand-alone cypress tree describes the isolation he is experiencing. The mix of colors ingrain a certain calmness, thus indicating the kind of environment in which he resided and the level of loneliness he experienced.
From this painting, one can clearly see the precision in Gogh’s work of art. In The Starry Night, a viewer can clearly see the transition from evening to night (Costache, 2012). The radiant moon in shades of yellow and orange and the transition with the stars to the left that are smaller in size and faded clearly portrays the night. He manages to achieve all these due to the way the brush strokes are sharp and precise.
Costache, I. D. (2012). The Art of Understanding Art. Chichester, West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.
Greenberg, B. R., & Patterson, D. (2008). Art in Chemistry, Chemistry in Art. Westport, Conn: Teacher Ideas.
The Collection (2013). The Starry Night: Vincent van Gogh: retrieved from http://www.moma.org/collection/object.php?object_id=79802. Retrieved on 5/14/13.
Written by an experienced teacher and Coursework assessor, this article contains help, ideas and guidance for CIE A2 Art & Design students who are working on their A Level Art Coursework projects.
As part of their A Level Art Coursework, students must submit:
- 1 x project (a two or three-dimensional final work, maximum weight 4.5kgs and maximum dimension in any direction of 750mm);
- 1 x folder of supporting work (maximum of 10 x A1 sheets). The supporting work shows the research, recording, development and critical evaluation undertaken during the course. Equal emphasis is placed on the quality of the final piece as is placed on the development of ideas and the use of processes(this is one of the main differences between the AS and A2 Coursework). The supporting work must be selective (i.e. it should be work that best portrays your skill and ability, as well as work that is relevant and helps illustrate your development of ideas) and it should include:
- Source material (your ‘starting point’ / source of inspiration);
- Development of ideas into personal solutions (original finished pieces);
- Experimentations with media and processes including trial samples;
- The influence of historical, contemporary and cultural factors (evidence that you have learnt from designers or artist models).
- 1 x sketchbook (there is no size or length requirement, however A4 is typical). The sketchbook accompanies the supporting work and can be used to record personal reflections, explore the use of processes and analysis of artwork etc. Please read how to produce an amazing sketchbook for more information.
A Level Coursework should be an individual response to a theme (see this article about coming up with good A Level Art ideas for more help with this). Your project can be focused on the same or a different area of study as AS (i.e. Painting and Related Media; Textiles; Ceramics; Sculpture; Graphic Design; Fashion Design; Printmaking; Photography, Digital and Lens Media; Jewellery; Puppetry etc). Schools offer these specialties based on the strength and expertise of their teachers. If you select the same area of study as you did for AS, you should look at a different process, i.e. if you explored woven textiles in AS, you may choose to explore pinted textiles in A2.
A2 Art Coursework assessment
The A2 Coursework project is worth 60% of your A2 Art course and 30% of your final A Level Art grade. It is internally assessed (i.e. marked by the Coursework Accredited art teacher/s at your school) and is externally moderated by CIE examiners. Most countries send Coursework to Cambridge University to be moderated; other counties, like New Zealand, have the examiners travel to them.
The final piece, supporting work and sketchbook are assessed together and are given a single mark out of 100, using the following criteria:
A2 Art Coursework examples
In addition to CIE Coursework examples, work from a range of other relevant qualifications has been added to this section. This is because these outstanding examples of student work provide highly valuable learning opportunities for students of all high school Art qualifications.
Additional A Level Art Coursework examples and case studies will be added here over the coming months. If you would like to view more outstanding student work, please view our Featured Art Projects.