This is a complete presentation on Caspar David Friedrich in Romance Art History, or Romanticism. THERE ARE MANY ACTUAL SLIDES FOR YOUR REVIEW IN THE PREVIEW. THIS IS YOUR BEST INDICATION OF PRODUCT QUALITY.
- Friedrich made his drawings from nature but not his paintings. He painted solely in his studio using his drawings for reference but arranging things as he pleased.
- Friedrich was not interested in painting people per se. He painted them but for a different purpose. They usually face into the picture and act as stand-ins for us, the viewers.
- The men are the Romantic hero, the rugged man on his own communing with unfathomable nature. Their eyes are often fixed on the abyss but never on the viewer.
- His figures are motionless, reverent figures either with their backs or sides to us. They are almost never facing us. Their mood, which we are to adopt, is one of loss and longing.
- The Romantic artists usually were drawn to death and mysticism. Friedrich was drawn to both.
- The American Hudson River School of Landscape painters found Friedrich’s work an inspiration for their own art in the 19th century.
EXCERPT: SEA OF ICE PAINTING
- Debate raged over the symbolism and meaning of this painting. It did not happen in history nor is it derived from a literary work from Friedrich’s time.
- One interpretation made it a metaphor with the German government then in power. Scholar Norbert Wolf likened the painting’s atmosphere to, “…a symbolic protest against the oppressive 'political winter' gripping Germany under Metternich."
- Then there’s Friedrich’s childhood fall through the ice with his elder brother saving him but dying while doing so. Friedrich mourned his brother’s loss greatly.
- The destruction of a vessel made by man by nature also fits within Friedrich’s overall Romantic theme of unforgiving nature. Nature uses the powerful force of the ice to smash the ship, showing its superiority to man, dwarfing man.
- This painting was not liked, much less understood, in its day. The lack of a moral to the wreckage bothered viewers. One art critic outright hated it and wrote, “If only the ice painting of the North Pole would melt once and for all."