Why This Painting Art is a Failure: A Critical Analysis

Why This Painting Art is a Failure: A Critical Analysis

There are numerous paintings in the art world that are celebrated for their beauty, technique, and meaning. However, not every painting can achieve this level of recognition. In fact, some paintings are deemed to be failures and receive harsh criticism from art experts and the general public. One such example is the painting "The Starry Night" by Vincent van Gogh. Despite its popularity and recognition as one of the most famous paintings in the world, this piece of art has been deemed as a failure by many. In this article, we will analyze why "The Starry Night" is considered a failure and explore the reasons behind its negative reputation.


Painted in 1889, "The Starry Night" is an oil on canvas painting that depicts a view of the night sky with a large moon, stars, and a small village. It is one of the masterpieces of the Dutch artist, Vincent van Gogh, who is known for his post-impressionist style of painting. It is currently on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

History of the Painting

Before we discuss why "The Starry Night" is considered a failure, it is important to understand the history behind this painting. Van Gogh painted this piece while he was staying in an asylum in Saint-Rémy, France. It was a turbulent time for the artist as he was suffering from mental illness and was admitted to the asylum after cutting off his own ear. During this time, van Gogh was not allowed to leave the asylum, so he painted the scenes that he could see from his window. This painting was inspired by the view from his room, where he could see the night sky and the village of Saint-Rémy.

Interpretation of the Painting

On the surface, "The Starry Night" may seem like a beautiful and peaceful painting. However, when we delve deeper into its meaning and symbolism, we can begin to understand why it has received criticism. According to some art experts, this painting reflects van Gogh's inner turmoil and his struggles with mental illness. The bold and swirling brushstrokes are thought to represent the artist's turbulent emotions, while the bright stars represent hope and the village represents a sense of isolation.

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Criticisms of the Painting

One of the main reasons why "The Starry Night" has been deemed a failure is due to van Gogh's unconventional use of color. The bright and vivid colors used in the painting, such as blue and yellow, have been criticized by some for being too intense and unnatural. This can be attributed to van Gogh's use of complementary colors, which create a striking contrast but may not be pleasing to everyone's eye.

Another criticism of the painting is its lack of depth and perspective. The village and trees in the foreground are flat, and the stars and moon in the background appear to be in the same plane. This gives the image a two-dimensional feel, which goes against the traditional principles of perspective in art.

Reception and Criticism

When "The Starry Night" was first exhibited in 1889, it received mixed reviews from art critics. Some praised its bold use of color and unique style, while others criticized it for being too abstract and unconventional. However, as time passed, the painting gained more recognition and is now considered one of the most iconic paintings in the world.

Despite its popularity, the painting continues to be criticized by some for its flaws and unconventional techniques. Many consider it to be a failure in terms of its use of color and lack of perspective, which goes against the rules of traditional art. Additionally, some also criticize van Gogh's mental state and the impact it had on his work, arguing that it may have influenced his artistic expression in a negative way.

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Is the Painting a Failure?

While "The Starry Night" may have its flaws and has received criticism, does that make it a failure as a piece of art? That is ultimately up to personal interpretation. Art is subjective, and what one person may see as a failure, another may see as a masterpiece. "The Starry Night" has undoubtedly left a lasting impression in the art world, and its popularity and recognition speak for itself.


In conclusion, "The Starry Night" is a painting that has faced much criticism and has been deemed a failure by many. However, when we consider its history, interpretation, and reception, we can begin to understand why it has received this negative reputation. The unconventional use of color, lack of depth, and van Gogh's mental state may have contributed to the criticism of this painting. Nevertheless, it continues to be a beloved and celebrated piece of art, showing the power and subjectivity of the art world.

Question Title: Is "The Starry Night" really a failure as a piece of art?

In conclusion, the negative reputation of "The Starry Night" as a failure can be attributed to its unconventional techniques, use of color, and subjectivity in the art world. But its enduring popularity and recognition as an iconic piece of art prove that it is far from being a failure. As the saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and in the case of "The Starry Night," it continues to captivate and inspire viewers from all around the world.






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