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August 15, 2023

Starry Night The Masterpiece

Starry Night the Masterpiece. Discuss a specific piece in relation to the visual art movement(s). How did the visual art influence the composition of this piece? (The visual art must have been created before the music you choose.) What are the similar characteristics between the two art forms? This can be any composer/musician throughout history and it can be a classical piece or a popular music piece. Do not choose a performing artist unless they composed the music themselves. For instance, you may only choose a song performed by Beyoncé if she wrote and composed it herself or in collaboration with others. Do not choose any Disney movie music or cartoon music.


Throughout history, visual and musical art have often intersected, influencing each other to create extraordinary masterpieces that transcend time and medium. In this paper, we will delve into two timeless works: Vincent van Gogh’s “Starry Night” and Don McLean’s iconic song “Vincent,” also known as “Starry Starry Night.” We will explore how the visual art of “Starry Night” influenced the composition of the song and uncover the shared characteristics between these two art forms.

Vincent van Gogh’s “Starry Night”:

Painted in 1889, “Starry Night” is a magnificent example of Post-Impressionism, a visual art movement characterized by vibrant colors, bold brushstrokes, and a departure from naturalistic representation. Van Gogh’s emotional and introspective approach to art is evident in the swirling night sky, cypress trees, and the prominent moon and stars.

Don McLean’s “Vincent” ( Starry Starry Night)

Don McLean’s poignant song “Vincent,” released in 1971, pays tribute to Vincent van Gogh and his iconic masterpiece “Starry Night.” McLean’s lyrics poetically capture the essence of the painting and reflect on the artist’s emotional turmoil and artistic brilliance.

Influence of Visual Art on Musical Composition

Don McLean’s “Vincent” draws profound inspiration from the visual art of “Starry Night.” The song’s lyrics mirror the vivid imagery and emotions portrayed in van Gogh’s painting, effectively translating the brushstrokes into heartfelt verses. The song’s structure and cadence mirror the movement and flow of the artwork, creating a seamless fusion of visual and musical art.

Shared Characteristics between Visual and Musical Art

Expressive Emotion

Both “Starry Night” and “Vincent” are embodiments of emotional expression. Van Gogh’s turbulent brushstrokes and vibrant colors evoke a sense of intensity and melancholy, while McLean’s poetic lyrics and emotive vocals stir the listener’s soul, connecting them to the artist’s inner world.

Starry Night The Masterpiece

Narrative and Storytelling

“Starry Night” and “Vincent” are not merely static creations; they each tell a story. Van Gogh’s painting captures a night sky ablaze with stars, reflecting his profound connection with nature and the universe. McLean’s song recounts van Gogh’s life and artistic journey, unraveling the complexities of his inner struggles and creative genius.

Symbolism and Imagery

Symbolism plays a significant role in both works. In “Starry Night,” the swirling sky and cypress tree are laden with metaphorical meaning, while “Vincent” weaves rich imagery, such as “flaming flowers that brightly blaze,” to conjure vivid mental pictures. Van Gogh’s bold style and use of impasto convey a unique perspective, just as McLean’s lyrical storytelling and musical arrangement demonstrate his exceptional artistry.

Moreover, both artworks focus on the theme of the night sky and stars, symbolizing a sense of wonder, mystery, and introspection. Van Gogh’s portrayal of the night sky reflects his fascination with the cosmos and his deep connection with nature, while McLean’s song explores van Gogh’s inner thoughts and struggles, drawing parallels between the artist’s life and the celestial elements in his paintings.

Artistic Vision

Both “Starry Night” and “Vincent” share similar characteristics in the way they convey emotions and narratives through their respective art forms. In van Gogh’s painting, the use of bold colors and dynamic brushwork creates a sense of movement and intensity, allowing the viewer to experience the artist’s emotional turmoil and contemplative state. Similarly, Don McLean’s song employs evocative lyrics and a melodic composition to express the profound emotional depth of van Gogh’s life and art, effectively transporting listeners into the mind of the tormented artist.

Furthermore, the visual art and music in “Starry Night” and “Vincent” emphasize a harmonious interplay between form and content. Van Gogh’s use of swirling patterns and intense colors mirrors the swirling night sky, thereby reinforcing the emotional intensity of the artwork. On the other hand, McLean’s melancholic and reflective melody complements the lyrical content, providing a somber and contemplative atmosphere that echoes van Gogh’s emotional turmoil and artistic vision.


In conclusion, the influence of visual art on music composition is evident in the profound connection between “Starry Night” by Vincent van Gogh and “Vincent (Starry, Starry Night)” by Don McLean. Both works share similar characteristics in their emotive expressions, thematic focus, and harmonious interplay of form and content. Through these artistic masterpieces, we witness the power of the arts. Van Gogh’s masterpiece, “Starry Night,” painted in 1889, captures a mesmerizing nocturnal landscape with swirling, expressive brushstrokes, depicting a star-filled sky over a serene village. Don McLean’s song, “Vincent,” released in 1971, pays tribute to van Gogh and his art, evoking a vivid and emotive narrative through its poetic lyrics and gentle melody. Use APA referencing style.


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