The primitive part of our visual cortex sees light contrast but won't see colour. It'll blend differently-coloured areas if they have the same luminance. But another part of our brain sees the colours separately.
And that's what makes the light appear to flicker in Impressionist work.
The paintings that behaved in this way all came from the most turbulent period in his life.
The video concludes:
While it's too easy to say Van Gogh's turbulent genius enabled him to depict turbulence, it's also far too difficult to accurately express the rousing beauty of the fact that in a period of intense suffering, Van Gogh was somehow able to perceive and represent one of the most supremely difficult concepts nature has ever brought before mankind, and to unite his mind's eye with the deepest mysteries of movement, fluid and light.
Want more? Here's a mosaic of Starry Night created through Hubble images.
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