Júlíana Gottskálksdóttir describes Þórarinn B. Þorláksson's art as follows: “Most of Þórarinn's landscapes are unpopulated. On the few occasions when a human figure makes an appearance, it is as a stranger in the land, a man who is thinking, or missing something, not one who lives in the countryside and identifies himself with the land. These paintings tell no story. Whatever does occur, does so in the mind of the person who has taken a seat. A few paintings survive of a man or a woman sitting on the seashore and looking out over the straits at Reykjavík. They turn their backs on the viewer, gazing at a ship or boat sailing away. These paintings convey an ambiance reminiscent of the romantic tradition typified by Caspar David Friedrich, with which Þórarinn was presumably familiar” (Júlíana Gottskálksdóttir: Þórarinn B. Þorláksson: Brautryðjandi í byrjun aldar/Þórarinn B. Þorláksson: A Pioneer at the Dawn of a New Century).
No doubt Júlíana alludes here two of Friedrich's most famous paintings, The Monk by the Sea (1809) and Wanderer above the Sea of Fog (1818). Both paintings depict a single person faced with the overwhelming expanse of the unknown; they are key pieces in any discussion of the “sublime” in art.
The resonance of these works by Friedrich, and others, is plain in a number of Þórarinn's paintings. This piece, owned by the Reykjavík Art Museum, is a direct allusion to Friedrich, as is clear from the flat silhouette of the woman, the mysterious atmosphere and the unearthly light.