A Question of Art

Dear Readers:

Today’s “post” is a question to you.  As an artist and art appreciator, it’s something I’ve pondered a long time:

Why does the daytime moon – which we see so often throughout our lives – so rarely appear in art?

What do you think?

I’d love to hear back from some of you.  You can email me at durga.yael@gmail.com, or write a comment for this post.

My best to all on a sunny November day,

Durga Yael

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6 Responses to A Question of Art

  1. Mary says:

    I think the daytime moon doesn’t often appear in art because most people are only looking at the obvious. It takes attention to see the daytime moon – and a slowing down, a refocusing of the eye perhaps, that most don’t allow the energy for.

    Also important to note is how strong and powerful the sun is…..the sun wants our attention during the day and the heat and light of it draws up to it, taking attention away from the moon.

    • durga says:

      Great answer, Mary! Thank you so much.

    • durga says:

      I agree with you too, Miri. As illustrators, we avoid ambiguity, unless it is part of what the illustration is meant to convey. That means constantly being aware of the perception of our viewers. I find it interesting that fine artists also avoid showing the daytime moon . . . perhaps we are all bound by a specific message we want to convey, whether the image is for commercial use or not. Thanks for your response!

  2. I likes Mary’s answer and I agree with it.
    I also think that art (and illustration in my case) is usually showing not what we see, but what we know. We paint ideas and symbols, I guess more than we are aware of… So when we want to show the concept of night time, we will often use moon and stars, and when we want to give the feeling of daytime we will show the sun, or at least its bright light. I think that showing a moon in a daytime illustration might be a bit confusing for the viewer…

  3. Jeff says:

    Interestingly the daytime moon is often used to convey magical atmosphere and/or literal other-worldliness. For example it is strikingly present in many science fiction film backdrops to say “we are somewhere else”. I think too it is a common element of fantasy/sci-fi book covers or magazine illustrations. I think the use is effective – and this is related to what others have commented – because the unusualness catches our attention and focuses us on the environment of the scene depicted… though the unusual thing is not the daytime moon but that we’ve been made aware of it!

    • durga says:

      Thanks, Jeff! I find it interesting that something so common can become a symbol of something other-worldly or unusual. To me it speaks to the power of an archetype: moon = night. Any contradiction of that association becomes a “signal” that we are outside our usual perception.

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