The details of the rocky hilltop, for instance, can be traced back to a drawing made on 3 June 1813 at Kaiserkrone hill in the German state of Saxony. Thames & Hudson, 2001 • Jensen, Jens Christian. Wanderer above the Sea of Fog is not a real view but was pieced together from different places visited by Friedrich during his sketching travels across Germany and Switzerland. As a later painting, Wanderer above the Sea of Fog moves away from any overt religious connotation — except perhaps for the principle of dignity through reflection, a personal faith gained through existential contemplation. It is natural to make the case for an optimistic interpretation: that he has trekked to the top of this rocky precipice, and now, exalted by his efforts, looks over the entire world — glorious and inspired, elevated and dignified. The success of this painting, I think, lies in the possibility of this ambiguity: that a scene of such glory can also pose the threat of tragedy or personal alienation. If the cliff below the wanderer is light and the scenery where he faces is dark, then the painting would look flat. Friedrich’s landscapes are nearly always large; they are often sombre or portentous. Wanderer above the Sea of Fog (c. 1818) by Caspar David Friedrich.Kunsthalle Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany. Although the contrast in the painting is generally based around more solemn themes, the difference between light and dark creates a very organic feel where nature is considered authentic, opposite to the materialistic or artificial civilization. The whole composition is an imagined and idealised scene, a sort of cosmic question mark that induces a paradoxical mood of noble optimism and terrifying loneliness. The fog is blurry and looks as if it is swirling around the air through the soft curve/slant of the paint ; the motion provides a sense of liveliness and living on the edge – pun intended. Art in an Age of Counterrevolution, 1815-1848. ( Log Out /  What is he thinking as he stands there? Primary Mover: How Roy Lichtenstein Conquered Pop, The Reason Algorithms Will Never Make Great Art, Are you going to eat that? Space is also incorporated in the painting to create an extension of depth and distance. The ridges tilt gently in from left and right, focus in on the man’s chest; as such, his head and shoulders sit just above this line and give rise to the sense of exultation in the painting. In Friedrich’s piece, there is an apparent contrast shown through the combination of light and dark colors. In Friedrich’s piece, there is an apparent contrast shown through the combination of light and dark colors. It currently resides in the Kunsthalle Hamburg in Hamburg, Germany. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. The Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog by Caspar David Friedrich incorporates multiple design elements to evoke the feelings of self-reflection and the beauty of nature. Caspar David Friedrich. Wanderer above the Sea of Fog is an oil painting by Caspar David Friedrich, who is considered one of the most important German artists of the 19th century. The example of perfect composure establishes an essence of intellectuality, which refers back to the idea of self-reflection and thought. He often ‘invented’ his paintings by fusing together several sketches from different locations into one image, sometimes even using the sketches made by other artists to fulfill his vision. Yet even in his early output, it was clear that his sensibility allowed for a greater array of moods and possibilities than just religious veneration. The man himself appears to have hiked up this mountain and now looks out over the precipice at the heights he has scaled. The only implied vertical line in the piece is shown by the figure’s posture. Create a free website or blog at The way his hair catches in the wind, his overtly noble stance with one leg raised, his frock coat and walking cane, all give the impression of a well-to-do town-dweller who has chosen to spend time in the wilds of nature rather than human society. What is fascinating about this painting is that it can be approached in the opposite direction — the pessimistic reading — and still make sense: a man racked with doubt looks yearningly out over a vast mountain range. The vertical line here stands out against a mix of angular and diagonal line shown in the cliffs to highlight the characteristics of nature. Wanderer above the Sea of Fog, or Der Wanderer über dem Nebelmeer, to give it it's original German title, is the most famous painting from the career of German Romanticist painter, Caspar David Friedrich. ( Log Out /  We gaze out alongside him, a few paces behind perhaps, but still a companion in the moment. Christopher P Jones is a writer and artist. In the painting, the two sloping ridges that indicate the horizon fall exactly where the horizontal of the Golden Section sits. Gradually, his depictions of nature began to contain crosses, Gothic buildings and religious motifs reflecting his strict Lutheran upbringing. The dark hue below the wanderer defines the height of the painting, and establishes the space below and in front of the subject. ( Log Out /  Thames & Hudson, 1974 • Boime, Albert. The use of line in the painting is also worth noting. Born is 1774 in the harbour town of Greifswald, his first subjects were the wild Baltic coastlands of northeastern Germany. Caspar David Friedrich. The background is mostly a blend of white, light blue and light pink thus creating a sense of emptiness. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. Friedrich took great care over the construction of the painting, and therefore by implication, the intention to create an object of transcendent grandeur. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. The use of space is also effective in Friedrich’s painting. Download here. The eye is drawn to the figure and the cliff below it, since they are painted darker than their surrounding. The terms for this device is Rückenfigur, or figure seen from behind, a compositional device by which the viewer can more readily identify with the scene. A man stands on top of a crag of rocks, overlooking a valley cloaked in mountain mist. Barron's, 1981 • Koerner, Joseph Leo. This painting is effective for multiple reasons. The asymmetrical aspect of the painting is shown through the different scenery of mountains, cliffs and fog. This makes me wonder the kind of emotions Friedrich was feeling while painting this piece. These vessels become another transitory element, coming and going like the sunlight, for the gazing people to peer at and silently yearn for. Other ridges rise through the fog, giving the impression of islands in a sea. Source Wikimedia Commons. From the viewer’s eye, movement can be found through this particular rhythm and this makes the painting interesting because movement plays an important role in visual expression.

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