He knew and was able to see
the wondrous light of stars that be
He felt and was able to convey
with brush what words could not say.
Rose Marie Raccioppi
Starry Night Over the Rhone , Oil on canvas, 1888, Vincent van Gogh, 1853-1890.
Astronomy Picture of the Day
2010 September 21
Explanation: How can the majesty of the night sky best be captured in a painting? This was a continual challenge for Vincent van Gogh, who pioneered stirring depictions of star filled skies into several of his works. Pictured above is van Gogh's Starry Night Over the Rhone, where the French town of Arles is depicted complete with gas lights reflecting off the Rhone river. van Gogh's night sky appears alive with turbulent stellar images contrasting with lofty dark blue hues. Above the river, one can discern the stars of the familiar Big Dipper asterism. Following a line connecting the two Big Dipper stars on the right, the North Star Polaris could be easily found.
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