Friedrich, Caspar David

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.
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Friedrich, Caspar David

Caspar David Friedrich (käs´pär dä´fēt frē´drĬkh), 1774–1840, German romantic landscape painter. After studying painting in Copenhagen he visited various scenic spots in Germany and chose to live in Dresden, where he remained until his death. Friedrich's melancholy and symbolic compositions were singular expressions of the significance of landscape and the insignificance of human beings within nature. His use of unusual, often eerie, light effects unified the mood of his works. His approach was a solitary one and his influence in his own time was not great, although he taught from 1816 until his death. Since the 1970s, however, his work has attracted great critical attention and it has influenced several contemporary German artists including Anselm Kiefer and Gerhard Richter. Such works as Capuchin Friar by the Sea,Man and Woman Gazing at the Moon (both: Berlin), and Two Men Contemplating the Moon (c.1830, Metropolitan Mus. of Art, New York City) typically project his mystical and pantheistic attitude toward nature.

See studies by H. Börsch-Supan (1974), S. Rewald (2001), Werner Hofmann (2001), J. L. Koerner (2009), and J. Grave (2012).

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