Portrait: Caspar David Friedrich, a German Romantic landscape painter

Wednesday, 22 May 2024 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: Portrait
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Caspar David Friedrich by Gerhard von Kügelgen

Caspar David Friedrich by Gerhard von Kügelgen

Caspar David Friedrich was a German Romantic landscape painter, generally considered the most important German artist of his generation. He is best known for his allegorical landscapes, which typically feature contemplative figures silhouetted against night skies, morning mists, barren trees or Gothic ruins. 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. Friedrich’s paintings characteristically set a human presence in diminished perspective amid expansive landscapes, reducing the figures to a scale that, according to the art historian Christopher John Murray, directs “the viewer’s gaze towards their metaphysical dimension”.

Friedrich was born in the town of Greifswald on the Baltic Sea in what was at the time Swedish Pomerania. He studied in Copenhagen until 1798, before settling in Dresden. He came of age during a period when, across Europe, a growing disillusionment with materialistic society was giving rise to a new appreciation of spirituality. This shift in ideals was often expressed through a reevaluation of the natural world, as artists such as Friedrich, J. M. W. Turner and John Constable sought to depict nature as a “divine creation, to be set against the artifice of human civilization”.

The Abbey in the Oakwood The Sea of Ice The Stages of Life Wanderer above the Sea of Fog Caspar David Friedrich by Gerhard von Kügelgen Chalk Cliffs on Rügen
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Caspar David Friedrich by Gerhard von Kügelgen
Friedrich’s work brought him renown early in his career. Contemporaries such as the French sculptor David d’Angers spoke of him as having discovered “the tragedy of landscape”. His work nevertheless fell from favour during his later years, and he died in obscurity. 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 products of a bygone age.

The early 20th century brought a renewed appreciation of his art, beginning in 1906 with an exhibition of thirty-two of his paintings in Berlin. His work influenced Expressionist artists and later Surrealists and Existentialists. The rise of Nazism in the early 1930s saw a resurgence in Friedrich’s popularity, but this was followed by a sharp decline as his paintings were, by association with the Nazi movement, seen as promoting German nationalism. In the late 1970s Friedrich regained his reputation as an icon of the German Romantic movement and a painter of international importance.

Read more on Wikipedia Caspar David Friedrich (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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