Caspar David Friedrich 1774-1840 BACK

Friedrich was the son of a soapmaker and chandler, and studied under Jens Juel at the Copenhagen Academy from 1794 to 1798. Friedrich was the founder of German Romantic landscape painting. His style combined an unprecedented fidelity to reality, based on his travel experiences, with a metaphysical illumination inspired by Christian Neoplatonic ideas.

The origins of his landscape art lay in the eighteenth-century veduta, or view. Already in evidence here were the foreground with observer's standpoint, set against an interesting background landscape, in some cases already that type of grand natural scenery which in the nineteenth century would be termed "the sublime" - lonely mountain ranges or ocean vastnesses that, in the sensitive viewer, aroused feelings of religious awe and insight. But Friedrich's pictures have none of the travelogue character found so frequently in eighteenth-century landscapes. His views of nature are externalized embodiments of the mood of the figures in the foreground, "atmospheric landscapes," to use the nineteenth-century term. They are invariably determined by two elements: the observed environmental situation and the attitude of the person or persons observing it, figures usually seen from the back and often magnified in proportion to the scene.

Image List
The Monk by the Sea, 1809

Abbey under Oak Trees, 1809

Wanderer Watching a Sea of Fog, 1817

Moonrise Over the Sea, 1822

Woman at a Window, 1822

The Polar Sea, 1823

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