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Starry Night
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Edvard Munch
Norwegian, 1893
Oil on canvas
53 3/8 x 55 1/8 in.
84.PA.681

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This night landscape represents the coastline at Åsgårdstrand, a small beach resort south of Oslo in Norway, where Edvard Munch spent his summers from the 1880s onward. Here Munch tried to capture the emotions called forth by the night rather than to record its picturesque qualities. The color blue conveys the mysticism and melancholy of the landscape, which seems full of premonitions. An abstract mound at the right represents a clump of trees; a white fence runs diagonally in front. The vaguely defined shape on the fence may be a shadow of two lovers, a recurring theme in Munch's work. He used an undulating line to depict the shoreline that continues into the trees at the right. Stars reflect in the water, and a flash of light in the trees shines brightly.

Varying thicknesses of blue and green paint are blended together to form the impression of a night sky. Some areas are thickly painted, while others are left bare to convey the lighter segments of the sky or a celestial phenomenon.

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