, Until 1890, and especially after his friends had died, Friedrich's work lay in near-oblivion for decades. Featured image: Caspar David Friedrich - The Abbey in the Oakwood, 1810. After his death, Carl Gustav Carus wrote a series of articles which paid tribute to Friedrich's transformation of the conventions of landscape painting. writing an interpretation ofthe picture. The artist is represented alone in his Dresden studio, deeply absorbed in his work. Friedrich sought not just to explore the blissful enjoyment of a beautiful view, as in the classic conception, but rather to examine an instant of sublimity, a reunion with the spiritual self through the contemplation of nature. Featured image: Caspar David Friedrich - Cross in the Mountains (altarpiece Tetschen), 1807/1808. This iconic depiction of a broken ice-sheet with a piece of a shipwreck peeking out of it exemplifies the artist’s mature phase and stands as an homage to the expeditions to the North Pole that happened during that period. "A painting must stand as a painting, made by human hand," wrote Caspar David Friedrich, "not seek to disguise itself as Nature." He was born in Greifswald, near the Baltic coast of north-east Germany, when it was still part of Swedish Pomerania, and considered himself to be part-Swedish.  His artwork had certainly been acknowledged during his lifetime, but not widely. Collection Kunst Museum Winterthur. He was also a friend of Georg Friedrich Kersting, and painted him at work in his unadorned studio, and of the Norwegian painter Johan Christian Clausen Dahl (1788–1857).  He became isolated and spent long periods of the day and night walking alone through woods and fields, often beginning his strolls before sunrise. Caspar David Friedrich. , By 1838, he was capable only of working in a small format. The dramatic atmosphere was achieved with a specific light casting the whole site with the sun rising or setting. At the Academy he studied under teachers such as Christian August Lorentzen and the landscape painter Jens Juel. Friedrich sketched memorial monuments and sculptures for mausoleums, reflecting his obsession with death and the afterlife.  In line with the Romantic ideals of his time, he intended his paintings to function as pure aesthetic statements, so he was cautious that the titles given to his work were not overly descriptive or evocative. Caspar David Friedrich ’s iconic Wanderer above the Sea of Fog (ca.  Despite these forays into other media, he gravitated toward working primarily with ink, watercolour and sepias. Munch's 1899 print The Lonely Ones echoes Friedrich's Rückenfigur (back figure), although in Munch's work the focus has shifted away from the broad landscape and toward the sense of dislocation between the two melancholy figures in the foreground. Collection Galerie Neue Meister. A revelatory look at how the mature work of Caspar David Friedrich engaged with concurrent developments in natural science and philosophy Best known for his atmospheric landscapes featuring contemplative figures silhouetted against night skies and morning mists, Caspar David Friedrich (1774–1840) came of age alongside a German Romantic philosophical movement that saw nature as … His final "black painting", Seashore by Moonlight, is described by William Vaughan as the "darkest of all his shorelines. The vast sky dominates the composition centered on a small figure of a monk observing the blue-gray sky and green sea with his back turned to the viewer. This one was exhibited for the first time in 1824 at the Prague Academy exhibition under the title An Idealized Scene of an Arctic Sea, with a Wrecked Ship on the Heaped Masses of Ice. The move was not expected; the Saxon government was pro-French, while Friedrich's paintings were seen as generally patriotic and distinctly anti-French. Some of these works were lost in the fire that destroyed Munich's Glass Palace (1931) and later in the 1945 bombing of Dresden. The text, edited by Christian August Semmler, Secretary to the Dresden Library, was subsequently 3 Johann Jakob Otto August Ruhle von Lilienstern, Reise mit der Annee im Jahre 1809 (Rudolstadt, 1810),42-4. Friedrich’s more tangible symbol of travel, the sailing boat, is usually shown in the middle or far distance. Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid. He was born in the Pomeranian harbor town of Greifswald on the Baltic coast of Germany. Own Invention). His primary interest was the contemplation of nature, and his often symbolic and anti-classical work seeks to convey a subjective, emotional response to the natural world. This notable figure created an impeccable oeuvre centered on the majestic depictions of natural surroundings inhabited by wandering figures searching for the inner piece from a diminished perspective. Originally from Vaughan (1972).  These effects took their strength from the depiction of light, and of the illumination of sun and moon on clouds and water: optical phenomena peculiar to the Baltic coast that had never before been painted with such an emphasis. The Wreck of the Hope—also known as The Polar Sea or The Sea of Ice (1823–24)—perhaps best summarizes Friedrich's ideas and aims at this point, though in such a radical way that the painting was not well received. Caspar David Friedrich emerged as a painter at the time Europe was rapidly shifting in social and political sense; a time when a growing disappointment with materialistic society was transforming to a new appreciation of spirituality. The composition is divided horizontally into land, sea, and sky with a clear simplicity that shocked his contemporaries. Friedrich's friends publicly defended him, and the artist wrote a programme providing his interpretation of the picture. In the abstract language of Rothko, such literal detail—a bridge of empathy between the real spectator and the presentation of a transcendental landscape—is no longer necessary; we ourselves are the monk before the sea, standing silently and contemplatively before these huge and soundless pictures as if we were looking at a sunset or a moonlit night. According to art historian Linda Siegel, Friedrich's design was the "logical climax of many earlier drawings of his which depicted a cross in nature's world. However he opted for German nationality and worked for… Friedrich's work brought him renown early in his career, and contemporaries such as the French sculptor David d'Angers spoke of him as a man who had discovered "the tragedy of landscape".  Landscapes were his preferred subject, inspired by frequent trips, beginning in 1801, to the Baltic coast, Bohemia, the Krkonoše and the Harz Mountains. For decades Zhukovsky helped Friedrich both by purchasing his work himself and by recommending his art to the royal family; his assistance toward the end of Friedrich's career proved invaluable to the ailing and impoverished artist. In his 1809 commentary on the painting, Friedrich compared the rays of the evening sun to the light of the Holy Father.  As Germany moved towards modernisation in the late 19th century, a new sense of urgency characterised its art, and Friedrich's contemplative depictions of stillness came to be seen as the products of a bygone age. Featured image: Caspar David Friedrich - Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog, circa 1817, detail.  Friedrich's work has been cited as an inspiration by other major 20th-century artists, including Mark Rothko (1903–1970), Gerhard Richter (b. The poor quality of the entries began to prove damaging to Goethe's reputation, so when Friedrich entered two sepia drawings—Procession at Dawn and Fisher-Folk by the Sea—the poet responded enthusiastically and wrote, "We must praise the artist's resourcefulness in this picture fairly. Friedrich was instrumental in transforming landscape in art from a backdrop subordinated to human drama to a self-contained emotive subject. His reliance on symbolism and the fact that his work fell outside the narrow definitions of modernism contributed to his fall from favour. The visualisation and portrayal of landscape in an entirely new manner was Friedrich's key innovation. Yet, by 1890, the symbolism in his work began to ring true with the artistic mood of the day, especially in central Europe. All images via Creative Commons. Friedrich worked for two years on this, ultimately his most famous work.  Friedrich created the notion of a landscape full of romantic feeling—die romantische Stimmungslandschaft. The most dominant Romantic currents were developed in England, France, and Germany. ", Although the altarpiece was generally coldly received, it was Friedrich's first painting to receive wide publicity. One of his generation’s most popular painters, Friedrich imagined landscapes of powerful beauty and spirituality from within the confines of his studios. His mother, Sophie, died in 1781 when he was seven. These infinite glowing voids carry us beyond reason to the Sublime; we can only submit to them in an act of faith and let ourselves be absorbed into their radiant depths.  Towards the end of his life he lived in relative poverty. Caspar David Friedrich (1774–1840) was a Romantic painter noted for his enigmatic landscapes which have provoked much speculation in interpretation. Zhukovsky remarked that his friend's paintings "please us by their precision, each of them awakening a memory in our mind.  Complications arise when dating Friedrich's work, in part because he often did not directly name or date his canvases. Instead of many tones, he sought the one; and so, in his landscape, he subordinated the composite chord into one single basic note". Caspar David Friedrich works changed the face of landscape paintings with his intense and emotional focus on nature, and became a key member of the Romantic Movement. This was the first painting by Friedrich, one of the principal figures of German Romantic art, to enter a British public collection when it … Cross in the Mountains, today known as the Tetschen Altar, is an altarpiece panel said to have been commissioned for a family chapel in Tetschen, Bohemia. , The Oak Tree in the Snow (1829). Oil on canvas. Oil on canvas. ", German Romantic landscape painter (1774–1840), During an 1834 visit to Dresden; quoted in, Pomerania had been divided between Sweden and. By 1804 he had produced 18 etchings and four woodcuts; they were apparently made in small numbers and only distributed to friends.  During this period he also studied literature and aesthetics with Swedish professor Thomas Thorild.
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