CASPAR DAVID FRIEDRICH

19th century Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich is considered the most important German artist of his generation. He was a leader of the German Romantic movement who specialized in painting allegorical landscapes. His vast, mysterious landscapes would often be doused in morning mists and feature contemplative figures or silhouettes, barren trees, or gothic ruins. They also quite often held religious and spiritual significance in juxtaposition to human helplessness, combined to suggest a beautiful power the divine. One of his most famous works is The Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog. Friedrich was the sixth of ten children born to a candlemaker and soap boiler. He was exposed to death as a child, suffering the losses of his mother, brother, and two sisters. The depression and melancholy from these deaths are attributed to his works. He studied at the Copenhagen Academy, which stands as a progressive art school to this day. He later settled in Dresden where he painted for most of his life, inspired by scenes he would recall from his frequent travels. Toward the end of Friedrich’s life, he suffered strokes that ultimately caused complete paralysis. Eventually Romanticism gave way to Realism, and Friedrich’s renown died out only to return many years after his death in the 21st century.

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