Vincent van Gogh

Start Free Trial

What all are the principles of design in Van Gogh's Olive Trees with Yellow Sun and Sky?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The guiding principle of Van Gogh's Olive Trees with Yellow Sky and Sun is that of unity. This is achieved principally through two means: texture and color. Van Gogh uses similar brush strokes for the ground, which appears to be undulating like a rough sea, the gnarled trees, the mountains...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

The guiding principle of Van Gogh's Olive Trees with Yellow Sky and Sun is that of unity. This is achieved principally through two means: texture and color. Van Gogh uses similar brush strokes for the ground, which appears to be undulating like a rough sea, the gnarled trees, the mountains in the background, and even the sun and sky. The blue-grey shadows on the ground and the stylized, swirling green trees convey an impression of motion, while the bright yellow sky appears to be circling a sun that is only slightly more intense in color.

The sense of motion induced in the spectator by the texture is complemented by the vivid colors, with Van Gogh's signature impasto giving the effect of myriad points of light. Just as earth, trees, and sky seem to be moving together, they also echo each other's colors, tying the composition together. The sun is differentiated from the bright yellow sky primarily by a circle which picks up the dry burnt umber color of the earth. The shadows of the trees are the same color as the mountains in the background. The flecks of white are the same in each horizontal third of the painting—earth, trees, and sky. The resulting composition is aesthetically cohesive as well as exceptionally vivid and dynamic.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team