Saturday 27 April 2013

Caspar David Friedrich – part 1

c1810-20 Caspar David Friedrich by Gerhard von Kügelgen

Biographical information from Wikipedia:

Caspar David Friedrich (1774 – 1840) was born in 1774, in Greifswald, Swedish Pomerania on the Baltic coast of Germany. The sixth of ten children, he was brought up in the strict Lutheran creed of his father Adolf Gottlieb Friedrich, a candle-maker and soap boiler.  Caspar David was familiar with death from an early age. His mother, Sophie Dorothea Bechly, died in 1781 when he was just seven. A year later, his sister Elisabeth died, while a second sister, Maria, succumbed to typhus in 1791. Arguably the greatest tragedy of his childhood was the 1787 death of his brother Johann Christoffer: at the age of thirteen, Caspar David witnessed his younger brother fall through the ice of a frozen lake and drown. Some accounts suggest that Johann Christoffer perished while trying to rescue Caspar David, who was also in danger on the ice.

Friedrich began his formal study of art in 1790 as a private student of artist Johann Gottfried Quistorp at the University of Greifswald. Quistorp took his students on outdoor drawing excursions; as a result, Friedrich was encouraged to sketch from life at an early age. Through Quistorp, Friedrich met and was subsequently influenced by the theologian Ludwig Gotthard Kosegarten, who taught that nature was a revelation of God. Quistorp introduced Friedrich to the work of the German 17th-century artist Adam Elsheimer, whose works often included religious subjects dominated by landscape, and nocturnal subjects.

Adam Elsheimer "Flight into Egypt 1609 
oil on copper 31 x 42 cm
Four years later Friedrich entered the prestigious Academy of Copenhagen, where he began his education by making copies of casts from antique sculptures before proceeding to drawing from life. Living in Copenhagen afforded the young painter access to the Royal Picture Gallery’s collection of 17th-century Dutch landscape painting. At the Academy he studied under teachers such as Christian August Lorentzen and the landscape painter Jens Juel. These artists were inspired by the Sturm und Drang movement and represented a midpoint between the dramatic intensity and expressive manner of the budding Romantic aesthetic and the waning neo-classical ideal. Mood was paramount, and influence was drawn from such sources as the Icelandic legend of Edda, the poems of Ossian and Norse mythology.

Christian August Lorentzen  "Silke Saugen" 
oil on canvas 44.5 x 58.5 cm

Jens Juel "Shore at Vedbaek"

1807 The Cross in the Mountains 
oil on canvas 115 x 110.5 cm
Friedrich married Caroline Bommer in 1818 and they would have three children. Friedrich was acquainted with Philipp Otto Runge, another leading German painter of the Romantic period. He was also a friend of Georg Friedrich Kersting, who painted him at work in his unadorned studio, and of the Norwegian painter Johann Christian Dahl.

1811 Friedrich's Studio by Georg Friedrich Kersting 
oil on canvas 54 x 42 cm

Friedrich's reputation steadily declined over the final fifteen years of his life. As the ideals of early Romanticism passed from fashion, he came to be viewed as an eccentric and melancholy character, out of touch with the times. Gradually his patrons fell away. By 1820, he was living as a recluse and was described by friends as the "most solitary of the solitary". Towards the end of his life he lived in relative poverty and was increasingly dependent on the charity of friends.

In 1835, Friedrich suffered his first stroke, which left him with minor limb paralysis and greatly reduced his ability to paint. As a result he was unable to work in oil; instead he was limited to watercolour, sepia and reworking older compositions. Although his vision remained strong, he had lost the full strength of his hand. Yet he was able to produce a final 'black painting', Seashore by Moonlight, described by Vaughan as the "darkest of all his shorelines, in which richness of tonality compensates for the lack of his former finesse".

1835-36 Seashore by Moonlight 
oil on canvas 73 x 58 cm.

This is part 1 of a 2-part post on the works of Caspar David Friedrich:

1797 Temple with Landscape Ruin 
oil on canvas

c1797 Landscape with Pavilion 
pen, ink, watercolour 16.7 x 21.7 cm

1798 Wreck in the Arctic Ocean 
oil on canvas 31.4 x 23.6 cm

1801 The Woman with the Raven at the Abyss 
woodcut 16.9 x 11.9 cm

1802 Study of Heads, Figures and Foliage 
20 x 13.2 cm

1803 Woman with Spider's Web Between Bare Trees 
woodcut 17 x 12 cm ( image )

1803-04 Young Man Lying on a Grave 
woodcut 7.8 x 11.3 cm ( image )

1804 Statue of the Madonna in the Mountains 
graphite and wash 24.4 x 38.2 cm

1805-06 View from the Artist's Studio 
pencil and sepia wash 31.4 x 23.5 cm

1805-06 View of Arkona with Rising Moon and Nets 
oil on canvas

1806 Cross in the Mountains

1806 The Ruins of Eldena 

1806-09 Self-Portrait 
black chalk 22.6 x 18 cm

1807 Dolmen by the Sea 
pencil and sepia 64.5 x 95 cm

1807 Fog 
oil on canvas 34.5 x 52 cm

1807 Sea Beach with Fisherman 
oil on canvas 34.5 x 51 cm

1807 Summer ( Landscape with Couple ) 
oil on canvas 71.4 x 103.6 cm

c1807 Dolmen in Snow 
oil on canvas 62 x 80 cm

1808 Bohemian Landscape with Mount Milleschauer 
oil on canvas 70 x 104 cm

1808 Morning Fog in the Mountains 
oil on canvas 27.9 x 104 cm

1809 Bare Oak Tree 
pencil 36 x 25.9 cm

1809 Monk by the Sea 
oil on canvas 110 x 172 cm

1810 Landscape in the Riessengebirge 
oil on canvas 45 x 58.3 cm

1810 Mountain Landscape with Rainbow 
oil on canvas 70 x 102 cm

1810 Rocks and Trees 
pencil and watercolour 36 x 26 cm

1810 The Abbey in the Oakwood 
oil on canvas 110 x 171 cm

c1810-11 Window Looking over the Park 
pencil and sepia wash 39.8 x 30.5 cm

c1810 Landscape with Rainbow
oil on canvas 59 x 84.5 cm

1811 Port by Moonlight

1811 Rock Surface

1811 Winter Landscape 
oil on canvas 32.5 x 45 cm

1811-12 The Garden Terrace 
oil on canvas 53.5 x 70 cm

c1811 Winter Landscape with Church 
oil on canvas 33 x 45 cm

1812 Cross and Cathedral in the Mountains 
oil on canvas 44.5 x 37.4 cm

1812 Lime Tree Branch 
pencil and wash 12.8 x 18 cm

1812 Old Heroes' Graves 
oil on canvas 49.5 x 70.5 cm

1813 Fallen Rocks 
pencil and watercolour 21 x 17.4 cm

1813-14 Vision of the Christian Church 
oil on canvas 66.5 x 51.5 cm

1814 The Chasseur in the Forest 
oil on canvas 66 x 47 cm

1815 Sailing Ship 
oil on canvas 71 x 49.5 cm

1815 Ships at Anchor 
oil on canvas 21 x 30 cm

1815 The Cross Beside The Baltic 
oil on canvas 45 x 33.5 cm

1815-16 Ships in the Harbour at Greifswald 
oil on canvas 90 x 71 cm

c1816-17 Neubrandenburg 
oil on canvas 91 x 72 cm

1817 Altar Design 
pencil, ink and watercolour 54.8 x 43.7 cm

1817 City at Moonrise 
oil on canvas

1817 Greifswald in Moonlight 
oil on canvas 22.5 x 30.5 cm

1817 Picture in Remembrance of Johann Emanuel Bermer 
oil on canvas 43.5 x 57 cm

1817 The Cross in front of a Rainbow in the Mountains 
ink and watercolour 27.2 x 20.8 cm

1817 Two Men by the Sea 
oil on canvas 51 x 66 cm

c1817-18 Chalk Cliffs on Rügen 
oil on canvas 90.5 x 71 cm

1818 Gazebo in Greifswald

1818 Sailing Boat 
pencil 33.1 x 24.7 cm

1818 Study for "On the Sailing Boat" 
pencil and wash 36 x 26 cm

1818 The Cathedral 
oil on canvas 152.5 x 70.5 cm

1818 The Marketplace in Greifswald 

1818 The Wanderer above the Sea Fog 
oil on canvas 98 x 74 cm