Art State of Mind

Moondance – Full Moon in Painting

Candy Bedworth 20 July 2022 min Read

Have you ever seen a full moon? Let’s take a look at some wonderful artists who have featured our celestial companion in a variety of settings across the ages. Our title image is by Edvard Munch; the undulating coastline forms a counter-point to the strict vertical lines of the trees and the column of reflected moonlight. There are no people here – this painting is very much about mood and feeling.

1. William Turner

Full Moon in Painting
Full Moon in Art: Joseph Mallord William Turner, Fishermen at Sea, 1796, Tate, London, UK.

J. M. W. Turner takes a very different approach. Here we see a stormy sea, lit by moonlight, the tiny human figures with their meager lantern very much at the mercy of nature. This was the first oil painting that Turner exhibited at the Royal Academy, fueling a vogue for nocturnal paintings.

2. Henri Rousseau

Full Moon in Painting
Full Moon in Art: Henri Rousseau, The Sleeping Gypsy, 1897, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, USA.

Turning back to a more serene yet mysterious scene, we see a sleeping woman, visited by a lion, who chooses not to harm her. Henri Rousseau was mostly a self-taught painter, but his simple lines and fantastic imagery were immensely popular.

3. Vincent van Gogh

But where is Van Gogh, I hear you ask? Well yes, he must surely appear in any list of moonlit paintings, his most famous perhaps being Starry Night. But that actually features a crescent moon, so sticking with our full moon theme, we see instead this painting of a full moon rising over a wheat field. Scientists have actually been able to pinpoint the exact time this particular moon rose over that field: 9:08 pm on 13th July 1889!

Full Moon in Painting
Full Moon in Art: Vincent van Gogh, Landscape With Wheat Sheaves and Rising Moon, 1889, Kröller Müller Museum, Otterlo, Netherlands.

4. Andō Hiroshige

Vincent van Gogh (and many other Western artists) studied and reproduced the prints of Japanese artist Andō Hiroshige, who was considered the last great master of the ukiyo-e tradition. So let us end with his image, featuring a waterfall falling in front of a magnificent moon.

Full Moon in Painting
Full Moon in Art: Andō Hiroshige, The Moon Over A Waterfall, c. 1797-1858. Wikimedia Commons (public domain).


john singer sargent capri Art State of Mind

We Love Museums! Discover the Best Spots Local to Our Staff and Contributors

Can you believe it? DailyArt Magazine is turning seven! To celebrate this exciting milestone, we asked our incredible staff and talented contributors...

Ania Kaczynska 12 July 2023

art for crawling babies Art State of Mind

Art for Babies – What Crawlers Could Do in the Art World

In the previous article, Artworks Your Infant Will Enjoy, we encouraged you to turn gallery trips into sensory classes for your newborn. While these...

Isla Phillips-Ewen 1 June 2023

Relaxing Paintings: John Singer Sargent, Neapolitan Children Bathing, 1879, The Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA, USA. Art State of Mind

Relax! These Paintings Will Inspire You to Chill Out

The modern way of living is very hectic. There simply is no time to relax while keeping a job and trying to tackle a million chores that creep up.

Anastasia Manioudaki 27 April 2023

Art State of Mind

Art for Babies – Artworks Your Infant Will Enjoy

Art is for everyone, even newborns! Parents who love art can still enjoy museums and galleries with their little ones and the little pre-crawlers are...

Isla Phillips-Ewen 1 June 2023