Student name: Sarah Dawson
Date of post: 14/9/2014
Topic and relevant lecture week: 2


Artist – Vincent van Gogh
Title – Starry Night
Year of creation –1889
Dimensions – 73.7 cm X 92.1cm
Collection/source –
Technique, material – Oil on canvas
Genre – Post-Impressionism
Image URL / origin


The painting features a starry night over a quiet, sleeping city that lays in the mid-ground of the painting. The City sits in front of mountains and the foreground features a Cypress tree which is associated with mourning (


The painting uses a complementary colour scheme of blue, yellow and browns. Blue, being the most prominent colour is highly saturated and is used in various shades and tints.
Higher values of blue are used as highlighting in the sky to create emphasis in the swirl whilst darker shades (lower values) are used in the hair to create depth in the night sky. This combination of high and low value blues are used throughout the painting for highlighting and depth. The mountains are painted in this manner, with the high values in the closest set of mountains and the further in the lower value. This assists the visual appearance of atmospheric perspective.
Yellow is the most vivid colour in the painting and is contrasted against the blues of the night sky. This contrast is created through the absence of low values in the yellows.
The browns used throughout the landscape for the bush in the foreground are all highly de-saturated with low values. This forms the darkest tones in the painting with a high level of contrast.

Spatial Organisation
The foremost object, the cypress tree is the focaliser of the image. From there, the viewer’s eye follows the exquisite swirl through the night sky to the large moon in the top right hand corner. The mountains then bring the viewers eyes back to the tree. This full circle creates a dynamic rhythm throughout the image and keeps the viewer exploring the top portion for the painting.

The steeple city’s church enforces this by forcing any wondering eyes back up to the sky.

The painting lacks a well-defined geometrical perspective. The rows of trees behind the city do however create faint, disjointed rays of vision which are somewhat supported by rows of buildings. Using these settle rays of vision, the vanishing point can be found in the centre for the image, inline with the horizon line. This places the bush and the night sky above the viewer’s line of vision, which creates a sense of importance and respect for the sky.

The main source of light comes from the stars that are pictured in the painting. These stars light the sky and the city below. The tree is lit from behind which makes it the darkest object in the painting.

Expressive Content
The composition, with the viewer looking up at the sky and always being redirected back to it by the vision lines creates an atmosphere of awe and a sense of hope. The theme of hope is further conveyed through the use of light colours in the night sky, which are bright and light over the dark city.

Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper


Artist – Getty Images
Title – Great chemistry
Year of creation –2013
Collection/source –
Technique, material – Photograph
Style – Paparazzi shot
Image URL / origin

The photograph is a paparazzi photo of Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper on the red carpet at the 2013 Oscars. It pictures Jennifer pointing at Bradley in a way that appears to be trying to bring attention to him.

The photograph contains a large portion of black and white, mainly from peoples clothing, with some smaller hints of washed out and de-saturated red, blue, yellow and brown in the background.

The skin colours are all de-saturated, with various values. Jennifer’s skin tone is the highest, which works to contrast her against everyone else. Without this difference in skin tone, she wouldn’t especially stand out in the sea of black and white.

Spatial Organisation
Jennifer is pictured in the centre foreground of the photograph; this combined with the previously mentioned contrast, she becomes the images focaliser. From there, the directional line created by her pointing hand directs the viewer’s eye to Bradley. Bradley’s arms in turn, point back towards Jennifer, creating a triangle and within the triangle their arms create is a secondary triangle. These triangles keep the viewer’s attention on the pair. A third triangle formed but the pairs eyes work to reinforce this further.


A majority of the faces in the mid-ground are looking in the direction of the pair. This helps again to fix the viewer’s attention onto Jennifer and Bradley.

The settle rays of vision indicate that the horizon line is in line with Jennifer and Bradley’s faces. This brings the viewer at par with the actors, allowing the viewer to share the humour of the situation.


The photograph is lit with artificial and very light natural lighting. The artificial lighting is coming from strong camera flashes and stage lighting placed in various positions around the image. This results in the image being extremely over exposed. This is most evident in the mid and far grounds, creating the previously mentioned de-saturated, high values.

Expressive Content
The facial expression of Jennifer and Bradley, along with the overly lit image creates a sense of humour. The viewer is able to share/feel this atmosphere through the use of the camera angle.


Whilst having similar layouts, with focalisers in the foreground, the way in which each image demands/ keeps attention is very different. For instance, Vincent moves the viewer’s attention away from the focal point through the use of directional lines, whilst the paparazzi image keeps the viewer’s attention moving between the focal point (Jennifer) and her companion, Bradley.

The two images also create contrast through two different techniques, The paparazzi photo uses focus techniques and skin tone to make Jennifer stand out whilst the painting utilises colouring techniques.