Caspar David Friedrich
Caspar David Friedrich was a 19th-century German Romantic landscape painter. He is best known for his mid-period allegorical landscapes. His paintings typically feature contemplative figures silhouetted against night skies, morning mists, barren trees or Gothic ruins.
About Caspar David Friedrich in brief
Caspar David Friedrich was a 19th-century German Romantic landscape painter. He is best known for his mid-period allegorical landscapes. His paintings typically feature contemplative figures silhouetted against night skies, morning mists, barren trees or Gothic ruins. His 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\”. Nevertheless, his work fell from favour during his later years, and he died in obscurity. It was not until the late 1970s that Friedrich regained his reputation as an icon of the German Romantic movement and a painter of international importance. He was born on 5 September 1774, in Greifswald, Swedish Pomerania, on the Baltic coast of Germany. His mother, Sophie, died in 1781 when he was seven. His sister Elisabeth died, and a second sister, Maria, succumbed to typhus in 1791. At the age of thirteen, Caspar David witnessed his younger brother fall through the ice of a frozen lake, and drown. Some accounts suggest that Johann Christoffer perished while trying to rescue CasparDavid, who was also in danger on the ice. 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. 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.
The rise of Nazism in the early 1930s again 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, interpreted as having a nationalistic aspect. In the 1930s and early 1940s Surrealists and Existentialists frequently drew ideas from his work. During this period he also studied literature, literature and aesthetics with Swedish professor Thomas Thorild Thorild. These artists were inspired by the mid-century Dutch landscape painter Juel Sturm und Sturm. Friedrich was also influenced by the German artist Adam Elsheimer, whose works often included religious subjects, such as landscape and nocturnal subjects. He also studied under teachers such as Christian August Lorentzen and Juel und Juel, who represented a mid-point movement in landscape painting. He died on 5 October 1864, in Dresden, Germany. He left behind a wife and three children, all of whom are now living in the Netherlands. His works are now displayed at the Royal Picture Gallery’s collection of the Royal Gallery of the Netherlands, in the town of Gotosegimerorp, near Amsterdam, and at the Museum of Fine Arts, Berlin. He has also been the subject of a number of books, including a collection of paintings by the Dutch painter Dr. Juel.