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Starry Night: Van Gogh at the Asylum

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4.45  ·  Rating details ·  85 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Starry Night is a fully illustrated account of Van Gogh's time at the asylum in Saint-Remy. Despite the challenges of ill health and asylum life, Van Gogh continued to produce a series of masterpieces – cypresses, wheatfields, olive groves and sunsets. He wrote very little about the asylum in letters to his brother Theo, so this book sets out to give an impression of daily ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published August 27th 2018 by White Lion Publishing
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Sue
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This has been a truly wonderful reading and visual experience, seeing so many of Van Gogh’s most iconic paintings and learning how, and in what circumstances, they were created. The excitement is tempered by also learning more about Van Gogh’s emotional/psychological life, which certainly cost him peace of mind, freedom, health, and ultimately, life.

This book primarily deals with that year at St Paul’s asylum separated into chapters by the type of paintings he created. Van Gogh’s inspirations ca
...more
Robin Bonne
Starry Night combines two subjects that fascinate me, art history and the history of mental health. Van Gogh’s stay at Saint-Rémy is detailed with quotes from his letters and writing, ephemera, and histories of the paintings that Van Gogh created during this era. The author did extensive research, visiting the asylum and surrounding areas, and even provides a few rare photos of Saint-Rémy.

This is my favorite period of Van Gogh’s art, and his use of color is a feast for the eyes. This book is fu
...more
Arybo ✨
When you receive the canvases I’ve done in the garden you’ll see that I’m not too melancholy here.




Van Gogh lived at the asylum of Saint Paul from May 1889 to May 1890, just a single year. Here he suffered from different attacks, but he always went outside his chamber to paint and love the nature and the countryside. The works of this period at the asylum are ones of the most known around the world, as Starry Night teach us.




Van Gogh is one of the most famous artists of contemporary art, and
...more
Literary Redhead
“Starry Night: Van Gogh at the Asylum” by Martin Bailey is a poignant and beautifully illustrated account of Van Gogh's time at the asylum in Saint-Remy. Despite the challenges of ill health and asylum life, he continued to produce prodigiously and created a series of masterpieces — cypresses, wheatfields, olive groves and sunsets. He wrote very little about this time in letters to his beloved brother Theo, so this book gives a helpful and sensitive impression of daily life behind the walls of t ...more
M. Sarki
Jan 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting read, well-researched and presented in a manner any art lover might enjoy. A bit slow at times with countless details as the focus generally remained on each piece van Gogh produced during his stay at the hospital. Some character development but none resulting in intimacy. Nice addition to the chronology in the life of one of our greatest artists of all-time.
Lesley
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A real look at the 12 months of Van Gogh’s 12 in the asylum after he sliced off his ear. The masterpieces he imagined on canvas while periodically suffering through his mental setbacks are incredible. His one mission in life was to be able to continue his art in spite of the voices and thoughts that people were trying to poison him while all along he was the one swallowing his paints in attempts to commit suicide during these episodes at the asylum.
His view of the famous “Starry Night” was that
...more
Margaret Sankey
Sep 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
In a spiral after the announcement of his brother, Theo's, marriage, and at odds with Gauguin, van Gogh cut off his ear, leading to his commitment at the Arles asylum of Saint-Peter. Bailey had unusual and rare access to the hospital's records, which he uses in this analysis of the paintings van Gogh produces while there--including Starry Night. This is a gorgeously illustrated book, with plates of the relevant paintings, assembled from galleries and private collections around the world. ...more
MasterReader
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully put together and exceedingly well researched, the book is a total delight for all who love the art of Vincent van Gogh and are interested to know more about the man behind the canvas, who, for a substantial part of his life lived in agony, mostly with himself.

Starry Night offers a closer look at the time the painter spent in Saint-Paul de Mausole, a small asylum in France on the outskirts of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence.

In fact, the place is just 25 km/16 miles away from Arles, where van G
...more
Nessa
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Van Gogh is one of my favorite painters and who doesn’t love Starry Night? I mean, you see it everywhere now…cell phone cases, tapestries, mouse pads, etc. He is one of the most well-known painters worldwide but how much do you really know about his life? I admit, I knew next to nothing and was thrilled to be able to read a copy of Martin Bailey’s new book chronicling the last year or so of his life as a patient of the Saint Paul asylum.

 I found this book absolutely fascinating. It reads very t
...more
Susan
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, read2018
Arc provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Starry Night is a fully illustrated account of Van Gogh's time at the asylum in Saint-Remy. Despite the challenges of ill health and asylum life, Van Gogh continued to produce a series of masterpieces – cypresses, wheatfields, olive groves and sunsets. He wrote very little about the asylum in letters to his brother Theo, so this book sets out to give an impression of daily life behind the walls of the asylum of Saint-Paul-de-M
...more
chan
Sep 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

CW: mental illness, self-harm and suicide

Altough painting absorbed virtually all of his energy, without this vocation he would have had much less impetus to live – and it's likely that his life would have come to an end very much sooner.

Up until reading Starry Night: Van Gogh at the Asylum I - although being fascinated with his art - only had superficial knowledge about Vincent van Gogh.. I knew he was Dutch, that he struggled with mental illness, I knew about the "ear incident", I could pic

...more
Granny
Aug 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It's difficult to write a book on any subject that appeals to both the scholarly and the average reader. Especially when the book is about art. But this book succeeds beautifully. The casual reader can read through without the interuption of looking up the footnotes. On the other hand, the more serious reader will find many deeper and more satisfying insights.

This book is written by one of the premier scholars on the life of Vincent van Gogh. He literally retraces van Gogh's footprints, taking t
...more
Doug Bright
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It’s not know what the cause of Van Gogh's mental disturbances were though it was most likely to have been a form of frontal lobe non-convulsive epilepsy that was and is not fully understood. There was a family history of epilepsy but Van Gogh also exhibited symptoms of bi-polar mania followed by long periods of depression. Van Gogh described explosive visions of light and color as well as auditory hallucinations. The crisis came one day when he took a razor and cut off part of his own ear. Perh ...more
Liz (Quirky Cat)
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-reads
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rach Denholm
Feb 25, 2020 rated it liked it
"Martin Bailey is a leading specialist on Van Gogh" states the book, so why does he continually need to assert himself as having knowledge superior more relevant than other historians and researchers. I found his intermittent, yet constant assertions a trifle boring.
The examination of Van Gogh's year of voluntary confinement in the asylum at Saint-Paul is fascinating and includes medical reviews, artistic output descriptions and analysis, and researched information on fellow residents and the p
...more
Katrina
This was an advanced copy from NetGalley and the Quarto Publishing Group - White Lion Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Devoured this in less than a day during an extremely quiet day at work.

This is a fascinating account of the year Van Gough spent at Saint-Paul asylum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence after the famous incident with Paul Gauguin which resulted in Van Gough cutting off his ear.

Bailey offers a compelling look into a turbulent period of the artist’s existence; the works he creat
...more
Kristine
Aug 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: amazon-reviewed
Starry Night: Van Gogh at the Asylum by Martin Bailey is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late August.

Though the non-fiction narration itself is somewhat scattered, Bailey does very well to place you into a sensory headspace for Van Gogh's asylum visit for about one year and one week, learning the effect of his relationship with his brother, Theo, on his own sanity, the history of the asylum itself (before and after Van Gogh's death) alongside his day to day experiences and making art from
...more
Rachel
Sep 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, 2018-books
This was a beautiful book with information on not only Van Gogh's time at the asylum, but also the history of the asylum itself, background into Victorian psychiatry, and in-depth analyses into Van Gogh's paintings from the time, which serve to illustrate the artist's experience.

Despite being a bit dry and meandering at times, this is still a good read for people interested in art history while also being accessible to readers who don't know much about art history at all.

Read my full review at m
...more
Theediscerning
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This just has to be considered as five stars. I do admire Van Gogh art and read about him when I stumble across a book to review, but I came to this a little worried it only concerned the 53 weeks he spent in an asylum. However with the wonderful art reproductions you don't get over-burdened with detail, and the education level is set just fine for both the expert and the Man on the Clapham Omnibus. Marvellous. ...more
Carmen
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art
Tons of photos, this book delves into the state of Van Gogh's mind. Apparently his doctor was ahead of his time. He felt activity, fresh air, gardens were all beneficial to mental health. But what stands out to me is how well Vincent's brother, Theo, took care of him. ...more
Helen
Jul 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Gorgeous paintings, of course, but also informative and eye-opening text 📚😃📚
Journey
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you are going to read one book about Van Gogh in Southern France, I recommend this one. Upon your reading, you will appreciate that this is very well researched, sensitive and elegantly written history of Van Gogh’s year at the asylum of Saint-Paul-de-Mausole near Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, from May, 1889-90, where he stayed following a breakdown which resulted in the self-mutilation of his ear. The author points out that this stay was intended to provide Van Gogh with rest and protect him from ...more
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