23 Masterpieces in Painting by Caspar David Friedrich

Masterpiece in Painting by Caspar David Friedrich

Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840) was a landscape painter of German Romanticism (art movement of the late 18th, early 19th centuries), of which he is now considered one of the most important painters and artists. Friedrich was most fascinated by nature, and many of his landscape paintings were inspired by Northern Germany — with its woods, night skies, hills, and morning mists.

About the Introductory Image

The image at the top of this column is titled “The Wanderer above the Mists” — completed by the artist in the period 1817-1818. The painting is also known as ”Wanderer above the Sea of Fog” (Image credit: Wikimedia Commons; used under public domain license).

Early Life Marked by Death

Caspar David Friedrich was the sixth of 10 children of a family living in Greifswald, Germany. The artist had early experience with death: in 1781 — when Friedrich was 7 years old — he saw his mother die. When the artist was 14 years of age, he witnessed his brother fall through the ice of a frozen lake and drown. Lastly, one of his sisters died in 1782, and a second one succumbed to typhus in 1791. Some people — mainly contemporary artists — attributed Friedrich’s sorrow in his art to these childhood events.

Studying Art as a Young Student

Friedrich began to study art in 1790 at the University of Greifswald. The artist also demonstrated a keen interest in literature and aesthetics. In 1794, Friedrich got into the prestigious Academy of Copenhagen, Denmark. The young artist had the chance to access Copenhagen’s Royal Picture Gallery, where he could dive into 17th-century Dutch landscape paintings — for which he had an extreme interest.

Artistic Fame Finally Arrives

His first important painting came at the age of 34, but his recognition as an artist began when Friedrich won a prize at the Weimar competition in 1805. In 1810, the painter was elected member of the Berlin Academy, after Prussian Crown Prince purchased two of his paintings. Moreover, six years later the artist was elected a member of the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts.

Finding Death in 1840

In June 1835, Friedrich suffered a stroke, and his ability to paint was greatly diminished. This event influenced his art, of course, and symbols of death appeared heavily in the artworks of this period. By 1838, he was almost incapable of artistic work, lived in poverty, and was increasingly dependent on the charity of friends. The artist died in May 1840.

Painting The Sea of Ice by Caspar David Friedrich.

“The Sea of Ice”

Painting Woman at a Window by Caspar David Friedrich.

“Woman at a Window”

Painting Cemetery At Dusk by Caspar David Friedrich.

“Cemetery At Dusk”

Painting The Source of the River Elbe by Caspar David Friedrich.

“The Source of the River Elbe”

Painting Man and Woman Contemplating the Moon by Caspar David Friedrich.

“Man and Woman Contemplating the Moon”

Painting The Moon Rising over the Sea by Caspar David Friedrich.

“The Moon Rising over the Sea”

Painting The Tree of Crows by Caspar David Friedrich.

“The Tree of Crows”

Painting Seashore By Moonlight by Caspar David Friedrich.

“Seashore By Moonlight”

Painting The Abbey in the Oakwood by Caspar David Friedrich.

“The Abbey in the Oakwood”

Painting Morning by Caspar David Friedrich.

“Morning”

Painting Woman with Candlestick by Caspar David Friedrich.

“Woman with Candlestick”

Painting Monastery Graveyard In The Snow by Caspar David Friedrich.

“Monastery Graveyard In The Snow”

Painting Boats in the Harbour at Evening by Caspar David Friedrich.

“Boats in the Harbour at Evening”

Painting Evening on the Baltic Sea by Caspar David Friedrich.

“Evening on the Baltic Sea”

Painting Frau vor untergehender Sonne by Caspar David Friedrich.

“Frau vor untergehender Sonne”

Painting Sea beach in the fog by Caspar David Friedrich.

“Sea beach in the fog”

Painting Largeness by Caspar David Friedrich.

“Largeness”

Painting View of a Harbour by Caspar David Friedrich.

“View of a Harbour”

Painting Morning in the Mountains  by Caspar David Friedrich.

“Morning in the Mountains”

Painting Northern Sea in the Moonlight by Caspar David Friedrich.

“Northern Sea in the Moonlight”

Painting Seashore with Shipwreck by Moonlight by Caspar David Friedrich.

“Seashore with Shipwreck”

Painting Ship on the River Elbe in the Early Morning Mist by Caspar David Friedrich.

“Ship on the River Elbe in the Early Morning Mist”

Private Life

In 1818, Friedrich married Caroline Bommer. The couple had three children. His work had a new approach after the marriage. Female figures appeared more often than usual, and the dominating austerity was lessened, too.

Painting portrait of Friedrich by Gerhard von Kugelgen.

Portrait of Caspar David Friedrich by artist Gerhard von Kugelgen (1772–1820). Image credit: Wikimedia Commons; used under public domain license.


Images: Courtesy of caspardavidfriedrich.org, used under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 license.
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4 comments
Gmuscatello
Gmuscatello

Hi I'm back ,

So this article really made me learn a lot since we've been recently talking about Copenhagen, and I really wanted to learn more about this topic so great!! And I admire his way to draw a picture because all I can draw is a face without eyebrows and a sun at the corner of a sheet of paper but whatsoever. His drawing capture your attention and they are actually very artistic. I'm really sorry for his death experiences. I HOPE HE DIDNT DIE IN IN MAY 16TH MY BIRTHDAY OR HE'LL CREEP ME OUT .

see you later,

Giulia