of Greifswald (1820)
Caspar David Friedrich
[German Romantic Painter, 1774-1840]
Born 1774, Died 1840
"[Caspar David] Friedrich [was] the sole landscape
had the power to move every part of my soul, the one
who created a new genre: the tragedy of landscape," wrote sculptor
Pierre-Jean David d'Angers. Friedrich aimed to produce a Christian art
based in nature, divested of standard biblical imagery. "God is
everywhere," he said, "in the smallest grain of sand."
After training in Copenhagen from 1794 to 1798, Friedrich settled in
Dresden and later taught at the Dresden Academy. His first works were
sepia landscapes. In 1807 he began working in oils and immediately caused
a sensation: his Cross in the Mountains, installed in a private chapel,
used landscape to evoke the spirit of the Crucifixion. Shocked by his
use of secular genre for a religious purpose, critics accused Friedrich
Friedrich's oeuvre encompasses scenes of ruined Gothic churches, cemeteries,
desolate landscapes, and silent figures in vast spaces, all deeply spiritual
and often melancholy. He was the first artist to create awe before nature
and to infuse landscape and light with emotional and symbolic content.
By 1835 Friedrich was nearly paralyzed and could make only sepia landscapes.
He died in Dresden sad, lonely, and poor. His immediate influence was
confined to some students, but his work was rediscovered at century's