Caspar David Friedrich: 20 interesting facts

Caspar David Friedrich (5 September 1774 – 7 May 1840) was a 19th-century German Romantic landscape painter, generally considered the most important German player of his generation. He is best known for his mid-period allegorical landscapes, which typically feature contemplative figures silhouetted against night skies, morning mists, barren trees or Gothic ruins. His primary fascination was the contemplation of nature, and his often symbolic and anti-classical play a part seeks to convey a subjective, emotional appreciation to the natural world. Friedrich’s paintings characteristically set a human presence in diminished aim amid expansive landscapes, reducing the figures to a scale that, according to the art historian Christopher John Murray, directs “the viewer’s stare towards their metaphysical dimension”.

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Friedrich was born in the town of Greifswald upon the Baltic Sea in what was at the grow old Swedish Pomerania. He studied in Copenhagen until 1798, before settling in Dresden. He came of age during a epoch when, across Europe, a growing disillusionment with covetous society was giving rise to a new response 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 natural world as a “divine creation, to be set next to the exaggeration of human civilization”.

Friedrich’s performance 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 take action fell from favour during his well ahead years, and he died in obscurity. As Germany moved towards modernisation in the late 19th century, a further 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 into the future 20th century brought a renewed nod of his work, beginning in 1906 subsequently an exhibition of thirty-two of his paintings in Berlin. By the 1920s his paintings had been discovered by the Expressionists, and in the 1930s and to the fore 1940s Surrealists and Existentialists frequently drew ideas from his work. The rise of Nazism in the yet to be 1930s again axiom a resurgence in Friedrich’s popularity, but this was followed by a sharp terminate as his paintings were, by membership with the Nazi movement, interpreted as having a nationalistic aspect. It was not until the late 1970s that Friedrich regained his reputation as an icon of the German Romantic bustle and a painter of international importance.

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