Aert van der Neer observed the low-lying Dutch landscape with its commonplace rural structures through the lens of natural phenomena. The elements of his vistas were often plain, as seen here in the foreground fields, the mid-ground windmill, and the boats and buildings in the distance. But neither those elements nor their exact location is the subject of this painting. Rather, van der Neer paints moonlight as it streams through hovering clouds and casts an opalescent gleam upon the waters. He conceals the moon behind the prominent windmill at the center of the canvas, underscoring his intention to paint not the light source but the effect of its illumination. And that light from behind transforms the quotidian structure into a marvelous and monumental silhouette that dominates a landscape engulfed in mysterious shadows deftly painted in a brilliant range of subtle tones: deep violet-black, translucent rose-gray, and glistening light-struck white.