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Caspar David
Friedrich
Germany 
1774−1840
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Biography and information
 
Caspar David Friedrich (September 5, 1777, Greifswald — 05/07/1840, Dresden) — a famous painter, one of the most significant artists of the Romantic period in Germany.

Contemporaries masters felt the presence of a mysterious meaning in his works. Later interpretations of creativity, sometimes contradicting each other, are generally unanimous: these pictures speak with the viewer in the language of philosophy — about the divine, about being, infinity, death, hope.

One of the provisions of the artist’s creative credo was that the creation of a canvas should be based on the fact that the master sees not just in front of himself, but also in himself. Behind the pacified restraint of the artist’s works is hidden the figure of the creator — a sharp, impulsive personality. He quickly succumbed to both bouts of rampant merriment and long periods of melancholy. Being a lonely, a misanthrope, he became the first artist who tried to complement the landscape genre with spiritual motifs.

The duality of his nature is manifested in the relationship of the master with other people. Sometimes he was easy to communicate, a witty, unusually cheerful conversationalist. But there were situations when the company of the artist became unbearable for the rest.

The novelty of the works of the artist, the brightest representative of the era of romanticism, Caspar David Friedrich is not just in the manner of writing. Fresh was the main motive in the compositions of the author — a man in a completely alien to him, cold, such a majestic world. This universal loneliness, which is associated with anthropomorphic images, is not depicted in a straightforward way — when it is ascertained, the master turns to allegories.

Features of creativity

Even in early works visible pensive, rather mystical atmosphere of the author. The spectator, in the place of which there are often figures, who contemplate landscapes detachedly, sees a mysterious nature, immersed in silence, signs of being above reality. In the works of Caspar David Friedrich, such symbols are as quite natural, very important elements (horizon line, mountains, ships, or cities far away). History, both ancient pagan and later, from the Middle Ages, is seen through melancholic motifs (the tomb of giants from a fairy tale, ruined temples, monasteries), where the emphasis is more on tragic discontinuities than on the connection of times. The power of flowers, rather expressive, is moderated by fogs, sunset or predawn haze.

Caspar David Friedrich is an excellent landscape painter who worked in the style of romanticism. For him, nature was the expression of considerable emotional unrest, often finding its own symbolism, conditional content.

Landscapes were used by him as a way of displaying his innermost emotions, which somewhat resembled the work of his compatriot Altdorfer, who worked several centuries earlier. Over time, the painter is increasingly duplicating the motives he likes, and the images of nature periodically replaced the images of angels, the visions of temples that hover in the sky. Other paintings by Caspar David Friedrich are close to the idyllic style of writing in Biedermeier style.

One of the techniques inherent to the master is to place the audience in the atmosphere of the painting itself. He often depicted the figure facing the landscape, which was entirely occupied by observation, because the contemplative found here a kind of "point of entry" into the infinity of the world.

The most famous paintings of Caspar David Friedrich

The paintings of Caspar David Friedrich "The Fall of Hope" and "Stages of Life" became a real visiting card of the author’s works. In his work "Stages of Life," Caspar David Friedrich shows an empty Arctic coast, figures of people of different ages, the same number of ships that approach the coast, but are located at different distances. So the artist was able to accurately represent in his work the endless movement of time. The image against the sunset itself evokes a feeling of melancholic nostalgia.

Another famous work by the German painter Caspar David Friedrich is known as The Fall of Hope, imbued with a clear sense of despair, complete hopelessness. The aesthetic spectacle of the triumph of the elements turns into an allegory — a way of death.

Many works of the artist Caspar David Friedrich, in particular simple landscapes, hide a deep meaning in themselves, the key to understanding which lies in the words of the master or in the statements of his contemporaries.

Biography of the great painter

The future master was born in the family of the barber, while still in his youth he lost most of his relatives — the painter’s mother first dies, then two sisters and a brother.

Since 1790, the master receives the initial drawing lessons. In the years 1794−1798. He is studying painting at the Danish Royal Academy of Fine Arts (Copenhagen). After he returned from Denmark, the artist traveled to different regions of Germany until he settled in Dresden. The master closely communicated with the painter Y. Dahl from Norway, had a considerable influence on the development of that as an author. In search of stories repeatedly visited the island of Rügen, located in the Baltic Sea. Frederick enjoyed riding the Harz, exploring Saxon Switzerland; at times he visited his hometown of Greifswald. Until 1807, he worked only in the technique of drawing (mostly a pin or sepia), after that he also turned to oil. In 1810, recognition comes to the master.

In 1812, due to the difficult situation of Prussia on the fronts, the master loses the support of the king.

In 1816, he experienced a significant psychological crisis, to a certain extent associated with the outcome of hostilities, which could not but reflect on his work. In 1818, the master surprised everyone, even his closest friends, unexpectedly unexpectedly married 19-year-old Caroline Bommer. During this year, 28 paintings were created by artist Caspar David Friedrich, which gives grounds to call this year one of the most fruitful in all his creative life.

In 1824, Frederick became a professor at the Dresden Academy of Arts. Known for his quotes, notes on the arts, emphasizing that it is necessary to combine a commitment to nature with his intuitive sensation, which the artist considered as a divine gift.

In June 1835, the painter has a stroke, he was partially paralyzed. Having been treated all summer, in October he resumed work, confining himself to sepia. However, his health condition is getting worse all the time.

The great master died in poverty on May 7, 1840. For some time, the forgotten works of Caspar David Friedrich again attracted attention only in the XX century. (since the heyday of surrealism).
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Caspar David Friedrich. Mountain landscape with a rainbow
Mountain landscape with a rainbow
Caspar David Friedrich
1810, 102×70 cm
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Caspar David Friedrich. Owl on a grave
Owl on a grave
Caspar David Friedrich
1837, 25.9×22.2 cm
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Artworks by the artist
112 artworks total
1820, 22×14 cm
1822, 71×55 cm
1840, 27×21 cm
1824, 48×35 cm
1834, 56×71 cm
1815, 45×33 cm
View 112 artworks by the artist