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Comparing and Contrasting Two Works of Art: An Analytical Study

Artistic expression has been a fundamental aspect of human civilization throughout history. Two works of art that stand out in contemporary art are ‘The Water Lilies’ by Claude Monet and ‘Starry Night’ by Vincent van Gogh. Both these works of art have been iconic pieces that have captured the imagination of art enthusiasts the world over. In this article, we will explore these two masterpieces in detail and analyze their similarities and differences.

Background of the Artworks

‘The Water Lilies’ is a series of approximately 250 oil paintings created by the French Impressionist, Claude Monet. The paintings feature Monet’s flower garden at his home in Giverny, France, and were painted during the last 30 years of his life. The vivid colors and poetic expression of Monet’s work captured the beauty of nature and conveyed his love of the outdoors.

‘Starry Night’ is a painting by Dutch post-impressionist artist Vincent van Gogh. The painting depicts a view outside his sanatorium room window at Saint-Paul-de-Mausole, in the south of France. Created in 1889, it is considered one of Van Gogh’s most recognizable and iconic works of art.

Comparing the Artworks

Technique and Style

‘The Water Lilies’ and ‘Starry Night’ use different techniques and styles to convey their messages. Monet’s artwork features a light and airy impressionist style with prominent brushstrokes to give the impression of movement and depth. In contrast, Van Gogh used an impasto style that focused on thick, exaggerated brushstrokes to convey texture and emotion.

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Themes and Message

Both artworks convey a deep sense of emotion and connectivity with nature. Monet’s ‘The Water Lilies’ gives the viewer a sense of tranquility and peace, showcasing the beauty of nature in its purest form. On the other hand, Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ depicts a turbulent sky and a sleeping village. This painting is known to represent Van Gogh’s personal struggle with mental illness and his desire to connect with nature.

Historical Context

The historical context of the artworks also played a significant role in their creation. ‘The Water Lilies’ was created in the early 1900s when the art world was transitioning from the traditional styles of painting to the more expressive style of impressionism. ‘Starry Night’ was created at a time when Van Gogh was going through personal upheavals in his life and was looking to escape the confines of a traditional lifestyle.

Key Takeaways

  • Different techniques and styles like impressionism and impasto convey diverse emotions.
  • Nature plays a critical role in both the artworks.
  • The historical context impacts the artist’s vision and expression.

Art is not just an expression of creativity but also an insight into society’s dynamics and the artist’s personal journey. Analyzing works of art helps us to understand the symbolism, the message and the emotions the artist wants to convey, and provides us with deep insights into the time and economy of the era.


Q: Can I see ‘The Water Lilies’ or ‘Starry Night’ in person?

A: ‘The Water Lilies’ is displayed in the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris, while ‘Starry Night’ is exhibited at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City.

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Q: What is the difference between post-impressionism and impressionism?

A: Post-impressionism is a style of painting that evolved in reaction to the limitations of impressionism. It focuses more on structure, form and color instead of the emphasis on light and visual perception, which is the hallmark of impressionism.

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