Not from the stars do I my judgment pluck;
And yet methinks I have astronomy,
But not to tell of good or evil luck,
Of plagues, of dearths, or seasons' quality;
Nor can I fortune to brief minutes tell,
Pointing to each his thunder, rain and wind,
Or say with princes if it shall go well,
By oft predict that I in heaven find:
But from thine eyes my knowledge I derive,
And, constant stars, in them I read such art
As truth and beauty shall together thrive,
If from thyself to store thou wouldst convert;
Or else of thee this I prognosticate:
Thy end is truth's and beauty's doom and date.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
Not From The Stars Do I My Judgment Pluck
Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)
During Van Gogh's younger years (1876-1880) he wanted to dedicate his life to evangelization of those in poverty. Many believe that this religious endeavor may be reflected in the eleven stars of the painting. In Genesis 37:9 the following statement is made:
"And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me."
Whether or not this religious inspiration is true, it is known that the piece is not the only Starry Sky painting that Van Gogh ever created. Gogh was quite proud of a piece he had painted earlier in Arles in 1888 that depicted stars reflecting in the Rhone River.
Starry Night Over the Rhone, c. 1889
Photographs and information: www.vangoghgallery.com