The Night Sky in Fine Art

 

"It often seems to me that the night is much more alive and richly colored than the day."
- Vincent van Gogh, writing to his brother Theo
8 September 1888

Art is nearly as old as humanity itself. Long before settling down into the routines of farms and cities, our distant forebears painted by lamplight scenes of their world on cave walls, for reasons that aren't entirely clear. Art may have begun as a means of religious expression, or it may have helped establish and strengthen kinship ties. Throughout history, the night sky has inspired both great and obscure works of visual art as well as music and literature. Here are a few examples drawn from Western sources that show not only the evolution of art techniques used to depict the night, but changes in the way humanity has thought of night itself.

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