Friday, February 17, 2012

Friedrich, Caspar David

Wanderer above the Sea of Fog
Oil on canvas
94 x 74.8 cm
Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany

Caspar David Friedrich (1774 - 1840) was a landscape painter of the nineteenth-century German Romantic movement, of which he is now considered the most important painter. He is best known for his later allegorical landscapes, which feature contemplative figures silhouetted against night skies, morning mists, barren trees, and Gothic ruins. His primary interest as an artist was the contemplation of nature, and his often symbolic and anti-classical work seeks to convey a subjective, emotional response to the natural world.

Although Friedrich was renowned during his lifetime, his work fell from favor during the second half of the nineteenth century. As Germany moved towards modernization, a new urgency was brought to its art, and his contemplative depictions of stillness were seen as the products of a bygone age. From the 1920s through 1940s, his work was appreciated by the Expressionists, Surrealists and Existentialists. Today he is seen as an icon of the German Romantic movement, and a painter of international importance.