Raw materials and art – 12. The Sun and Friedrich

Switzerland is a hub for commodity trading. Did you know that this activity represents 4% of Swiss GDP, and even 22% of tax revenue for the canton of Geneva? We continue to explore this vast subject from another angle, but in a new series, we publish a series of articles, focusing each time on a raw material and an artistic or cultural work. This week, we are addressing the theme of the sun. We will be able to examine the forecasts of the IEA (International Energy Agency). We will then see that the solar car is a reality.

This gives us the opportunity to admire the painting by the painter Caspard David Friedrich (1774-1840): Sunsets painted between 1830-1835, kept at the Hermitage Museum, in Saint Petersburg. The artist is the most important and influential German Romantic painter of the 19th century.th century.


IEA forecasts

In a report, the IEA predicts that over the next five years, the world will increase its renewable energy generation capacity by 75%, an amount equivalent to all of China’s installed power today.

By 2027, solar energy will be the main source of electricity in the world, followed by coal, natural gas and wind energy, the group says.

The solar car is a reality

The Dutch start-up Lightyear has just started production of the first solar electric car.

Lightyear’s young co-founder, Lex Hoefsloot, said, “Anyone can make a prototype, even a rolling one. But, passing these steps to end up with a production chain is the valley of death for innovation. Especially when you want to offer a car centered and dedicated to solar technology, the risks are even greater”.

We can cite a negative point, the Lightyear is not cheap, indeed it costs 250,000 €.

The start-up nevertheless wants to be reassuring and advocates a long-term strategy. In other words, Lightyear is counting on the success of its first model to gradually lower the prices of its vehicles. The company is already working on the Lightyear 2, scheduled for 2025.


The sun has fascinated people since the dawn of time. It is therefore not easy to choose a work to illustrate it. The romantic movement of the nineteenthth century highlights the greatness and beauty of nature and the smallness of man in the face of it. We have therefore chosen a painting by Caspard David Friedrich (1774-1840), the artist is the most important and influential of German romantic painting of the XIXth century. Here is one of the Sunsets painted between 1830-1835, kept at the Hermitage Museum, in Saint Petersburg.

In the same series, “Raw materials and art”:

  1. Cereals and Van Gogh
  2. Coffee and culture
  3. Cotton and Edgar Degas
  4. Cocoa and Luis Meléndez
  5. Sugar and Sartre
  6. Copper and Chardin
  7. Steel and Gayle Hermick
  8. Corn and Jean Mortel
  9. Biogas and Victor Hugo
  10. Hydrogen and the aerostatic globe
  11. The wind, Da Vinci and Monnet

Sources :

Solar – Fuels & Technologies – IEA

Dutch Lightyear will soon deliver its first solar-powered cars (bfmtv.com)

Photo credit : Caspar David Friedrich, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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