Moonrise over the sea

in The City of Neoxian2 months ago


Like its companion piece, the evening picture of the diptych was painted in 1822. In Moonrise on the Seashore Friedrich took up one of his favorite themes. In the reflected light of the night sky, it is as though the surface of the water begins to glow all of its own accord, taking up the light of heaven, as it were. Clouds have come up and the round shape of the full moon is half hidden behind the banks of cloud at the horizon. This means that the moonlight does not fall evenly but seems to be breaking out of a gateway in the clouds, creating a magical play of light. Complementary colours, ranging from golden to whitish yellow, violet and blue, define the contrasts of light and shade. There is a sense of the magnitude and unity of the universe. Moved by this wonder of nature, three people sit on rounded rocks near the shore, and their dark silhouettes heighten the effect of the gleaming light of the sky and the sea. Two sailing ships pursue a ghostly course across the water. The sublime drama with the moon as the symbol of hope is imbued with a quality of unearthly beauty.