Following his journey to Italy in 1820–21, during which he developed a spontaneous, sketchlike style of painting, Dahl carried out a series of cloud studies in Dresden. It seems likely that his friend Carus had given him the idea to paint this motif, on the basis of Luke Howard’s cloud theories. In this study with its uncommonly sure, free brushwork, Dahl captured the threatening build-up of clouds above the castle tower. A few touches of paint were all he needed to show the tower catching the light of the sun as it breaks through the clouds. The seething drama of the stormclouds serves as a Romantic symbol of the power of nature at the same time as being a perfectly neutral observation of meteorological phenomena. With these small studies of daringly selected details Dahl was treading a path that was already showing the way towards the principles of plein air painting.