Teppo Jokinen: After Sunset: the Romantics’ Moon

Nature’s sublime or frightening phenomena and moods enchanted the Romantic artists. Emphasizing the contrast between the nature of night and day also inspired them to depict events and emotions. And what significance did the Moon have in the Romantic era’s nocturnal depictions of nature?

  • 10.5.2023 at 18–19
in Finnish
Seminar hall
Tickets: with a museum ticket
18 €/ 12 €/ Museum Card. Entry is free for those under 18 years. Tickets are available at the ticket office on the day of the performance. 80 tickets.
Alexander Lauréus (1783 – 1823): Bandits Entering a Shepherd’s Dwelling, 1823. Nationalmuseum, Stockholm. Photo: Erik Cornelius, Nationalmuseum, Stockholm.

Light allows nature’s forms and colours to be observed and presented visually. The almost obvious presentations in painting rely on sunlight. In the Romantic era — from the end of the eighteenth century to the middle of the following one — painters grew ever more fascinated by nocturnal depictions and the states of the soul associated with them, such as fear, melancholy and longing, but also passion and love. However, they also needed light to paint the night. Here, the Moon and the landscape it created with its light offered the most germane conditions for art.

The lecture will use individual examples to discuss why moonlight painting became so common during the Romantic era, why moonlight fascinated and inspired artists at that particular time and how the moonlight artwork of the era can be read and understood from today’s standpoint.

Teppo Jokinen, PhD, is a docent in art history at the University of Helsinki who is particularly interested in researching the interactions between art and architecture in Finland and Germanophone Europe. Recently, Jokinen has been researching the architect Gustaf Nyström and the landscape painter Hjalmar Munsterhjelm. He is currently writing a biography of the landscape painter Berndt Lindholm.