SØDRING, Frederik Hansen
(b. 1809, Aalborg, d. 1862, Hellerup)

The "Summer Spire" on the Chalk Cliffs of the Island Møn. Moonlight

Oil on canvas, 30 x 42 cm
Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen

Møn is an island in south-eastern Denmark. It is one of Denmark's most popular destinations for tourists with its white chalk cliffs,

Sødring was among the few Danish artists of his period to look to Romantic landscape painting for inspiration, and this painting is radically different from the majority of paintings created in Denmark around 1830, first and foremost because it is a nocturnal scene, but also because of the way in which the motif has been treated. The artist has chosen to view the Summer Spire against a dramatic night sky where the moon breaks through the clouds and makes the chalk cliffs appear luminously white against the dark surroundings.

Besides the influence of the Norwegian painter Johan Christian Dahl, at an early stage Sødring became interested in the German landscape painter Caspar David Friedrich's work and artistic devices. Several features of the Summer Spire scene are very reminiscent of the paintings by the German artist.