Tag: Painting

Adam Elsheimer paints the Moon like no one before

More than 400 years ago, the German artist Adam Elsheimer (1578–1610) painted the picture »Flight into Egypt« (1609), where he depicted the well-known biblical scene of the escape of Joseph and Maria with the Christ Child. The special feature of this painting is, that it shows the full moon and night sky with such a richness of detail on a scale not seen before. Scientists – like for example Dr. Christian Sicka of the ›Deutsche Museum‹ Munich – have examined this work and come to the conclusion that this is possibly the first correct astronomical true to life depiction of the night sky in paintings. One can easily recognise the lunar maria on the Moon’s surface and also the Milky Way, moreover a clear graduation of brightness with the individual stars.

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The career of William Turner

Photography had not yet been invented when the British painter J. M. William Turner (1775–1851) created his painting »Fishermen at Sea« in 1796, where he depicts a nightly scenery at a tempestuous sea, which is lit by the full moon midst heavy clouds. This painting was the first exhibited oil painting by the then 21 year-old Turner and marked the beginning of a great career.

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The full moon in romantic painting

Towards the end of the 18th century, about 200 years ago, Germany was about to be conquered by a new style of painting: the romanticism. The objective was, just as we understand it today, to emphasise feelings. But it was much more than this …

It was about the self-conception of an entire generation of artists, poets and musicians, who were trying to oppose the, up until then, reigning reason of the enlightenment era and also the classicism that was concerned with order. They countered with irrational contents i.e. fantasy, infinity or transcendency. It was what Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944) expressed about the artist in general at a much later point in time: »The fortune of an artist is the possibility, to express longing in forms.«

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