Van Gogh’s Starry Night painted on water

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“Ebru”, or paper marbling, is a technique of chromatic decoration on paper that imitates, reproducing the same colour shapes, the surface of marble. It consists in placing a sheet of paper on the surface of water, previously treated with particular staining techniques, and painting is possible thanks to the property of liquids insoluble with each other. The liquids used are water, which forms the mirror for the chromatic palette, and the oil pigments diluted in several special materials. This technique was born more or less 3000 years ago, between India and Iran. Ebru technique was used to write valuable books and documents, with its ability to immediately show erasures and scrapings.

One of the modern masters of this technique is the Turkish artist Garip Ay. Its Youtube channel is very popular and has several works composed with this particular technique, always realized live during the filming of the video. One of the videos that became more viral was his reinterpretation of Van Gogh’s Starry Night, a spectacle for the eyes that you can see below:

For this work, Garip mixes water with a special type of rubber, to make it more dense. Then he poured the colours for the picture and worked with brushes and very thin instruments. In the video you see the artist creating meticulously the painting, using the circular motion of the original work from Van Gogh. The use of water combined with Van Gogh style reveals one of the secret characteristics of the Dutch painter, whose distinctive trait was precisely the representations of spirals extremely similar to those that can be observed in nature. Through the technique of painting in water, nature itself participates in making clear the symmetry between the spirals of Van Gogh and those of Physics.

The video shows Garip and his class as he dissolves the painting, turning it into the self-portrait of the Dutch artist, whose original work is preserved in the Musée d’orsay in Paris. To complete the marvel, the musical background is given by Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. Just to challenge our Stendhal Syndrome.


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