The night is dark, a low mist obscures the black shapes of trees and bushes. The sky is covered with a thin cloak of clouds. There are no stars, but the moon shines brightly through a gap in the clouds.
The statue is a grievous one, it depicts the seven sorrows of the Virgin Mary. Here she suffers alone in a dark and quiet landscape.
Caspar David Friedrich painted this dark landscape and then cut out a circle for the moon, glueing white paper behind it. The watercolour was meant to be displayed in front of a candle, so that the moon is in fact a source of light.
This technique gives the painting a sense of hope in all the darkness and grief it depicts. Even if times are dark – literally or metaphorically – there is always a light on the other side.
Artwork: Caspar David Friedrich, ca. 1830-35, “Mondscheinlandschaft” (Moonlit Landscape). Watercolour on paper.