Friedrich always adhered to religious subjects - this topic was most interesting and close to him. “Monk by the Sea” - a picture that, along with another (“Abbey in an Oak Forest”) brought him success. It depicts a calm dark sea. Lambs of waves run along it, the surf rustles on the shore. On it, on a smooth, light ground, stands a monk in a brown cassock.
You can’t consider whether he is young or old, but his posture indicates calm and peace. The monk does not expect anything, hopes for nothing. He just stands with his head slightly tilted, keeping his back straight, and looks at the sea, which plays by itself and slowly undermines the coast. Over the sea, almost merging with it, the sky. Heavy clouds near the horizon lie on it with a wet pile, but the higher toward the sky, the lighter and whiter they become.
Curl in whimsical spirals, form vague figures that are not drawn by an artist, but by our imagination. And above them is a clear sky. If the color of the clouds is dark and cold, in the lightest part grayish, in the darkest part similar to the color of the sea, then the color of the sky is very different from it. It shows notes of yellow. It seems airy and tender, like the sky at dawn. The higher it is, the darker it is, but it is a different kind of darkness than by the sea. It does not seem either crushing or threatening, it alludes to the stars and the moon, which somewhere in an immeasurable height revolve over the world.
What can a monk seek by such a sea? It is unlikely that he is waiting for the ship, because he is not in the port and not on the pier. Rather, he simply listens to silence, which is broken only by the whisper of the waves and the cries of the gulls that any sea must have. Rather, he is simply looking in the world around God, who, sat down to believe Christians, is everywhere. It is enough to be at peace with yourself and nature in order to feel its presence.
The whole picture breathes this harmony, this is the ability not to conflict with anything, being both part of the sea, and heaven, and God.
Composition By Harvest Picture