Painter: Caspar David Friedrich - Part 1 - Bio data English y Espanol - Links

Posted by Ricardo Marcenaro | Posted in | Posted on 18:08

Caspar David Friedrich - Abbey among Oak Trees 1809-10

Caspar David Friedrich - Abend (1824)

Caspar David Friedrich - Arbres et arbustes sous la neige 1825

Caspar David Friedrich - Blick auf Arkona mit aufgehendem Mond 1805-6

Caspar David Friedrich - Boats in the Harbour at Evening 1828

Caspar David Friedrich - By the townwall

Caspar David Friedrich - c by Gerhard von Kügelgen c. 1810–20

Caspar David Friedrich (September 5, 1774 – May 7, 1840) was a 19th-century German Romantic landscape painter, generally considered the most important German artist of his generation.[2] He is best known for his mid-period allegorical landscapes which typically feature contemplative figures silhouetted against night skies, morning mists, barren trees or Gothic ruins. His primary interest as an artist was the contemplation of nature, and his often symbolic and anti-classical work seeks to convey a subjective, emotional response to the natural world. Friedrich's paintings characteristically set a human presence in diminished perspective amid expansive landscapes, reducing the figures to a scale that, according to the art historian Christopher John Murray, directs "the viewer's gaze towards their metaphysical dimension".[3]

Friedrich was born in the Pomeranian town of Greifswald at the Baltic Sea, where he began his studies in art as a young man. He studied in Copenhagen until 1798, before settling in Dresden. He came of age during a period when, across Europe, a growing disillusionment with materialistic society was giving rise to a new appreciation of spirituality. This shift in ideals was often expressed through a reevaluation of the natural world, as artists such as Friedrich, J.M.W. Turner (1775–1851) and John Constable (1776–1837) sought to depict nature as a "divine creation, to be set against the artifice of human civilization".[4]

Friedrich's work brought him renown early in his career, and contemporaries such as the French sculptor David d'Angers (1788–1856) spoke of him as a man who had discovered "the tragedy of landscape".[5] Nevertheless, his work fell from favour during his later years, and he died in obscurity, and in the words of the art historian Philip Miller, "half mad".[6] As Germany moved towards modernisation in the late 19th century, a new sense of urgency characterised its art, and Friedrich's contemplative depictions of stillness came to be seen as the products of a bygone age. The early 20th century brought a renewed appreciation of his work, beginning in 1906 with an exhibition of thirty-two of his paintings and sculptures in Berlin. By the 1920s his paintings had been discovered by the Expressionists, and in the 1930s and early 1940s Surrealists and Existentialists frequently drew ideas from his work. The rise of Nazism in the early 1930s again saw a resurgence in Friedrich's popularity, but this was followed by a sharp decline as his paintings were, by association with the Nazi movement, misinterpreted as having a nationalistic aspect.[7] It was not until the late 1970s that Friedrich regained his reputation as an icon of the German Romantic movement and a painter of international importance.


Early years and family

Caspar David Friedrich was born on September 5, 1774, in Greifswald, Swedish Pomerania, on the Baltic coast of Germany.[8] 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.[4] Records of the family's financial circumstances are contradictory; while some sources indicate the children were privately tutored, others record that they were raised in relative poverty.[9] Caspar David was familiar with death from an early age. His mother, Sophie Dorothea Bechly, died in 1781 when he was just seven.[10] A year later, his sister Elisabeth died,[11] while a second sister, Maria, succumbed to typhus in 1791.[9] 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.[12] Some accounts suggest that Johann Christoffer perished while trying to rescue Caspar David, who was also in danger on the ice.[13]
Friedrich began his formal study of art in 1790 as a private student of artist Johann Gottfried Quistorp at the University of Greifswald in his home city, at which the art department is now named in his honour (Caspar-David-Friedrich-Institut[15]). Quistorp took his students on outdoor drawing excursions; as a result, Friedrich was encouraged to sketch from life at an early age.[16] Through Quistorp, Friedrich met and was subsequently influenced by the theologian Ludwig Gotthard Kosegarten, who taught that nature was a revelation of God.[16] 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.[17] During this period he also studied literature and aesthetics with Swedish professor Thomas Thorild. 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.[18] 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.[19]

Friedrich settled permanently in Dresden in 1798. During this early period, he experimented in printmaking with etchings[20] and designs for woodcuts which his furniture-maker brother cut. By 1804 he had produced 18 etchings and four woodcuts; they were apparently made in small numbers and only distributed to friends.[21] Despite these forays into other media, he gravitated toward working primarily with ink, watercolour and sepias. With the exception of a few early pieces, such as Landscape with Temple in Ruins (1797), he did not work extensively with oils until his reputation was more established.[22] Landscapes were his preferred subject, inspired by frequent trips, beginning in 1801, to the Baltic coast, Bohemia, the Krkonoše and the Harz Mountains.[23] Mostly based on the landscapes of northern Germany, his paintings depict woods, hills, harbors, morning mists and other light effects based on a close observation of nature. These works were modeled on sketches and studies of scenic spots, such as the cliffs on Rügen, the surroundings of Dresden and the river Elbe. He executed his studies almost exclusively in pencil, even providing topographical information, yet the subtle atmospheric effects characteristic of Friedrich's mid-period paintings were rendered from memory.[24] These effects took their strength from the depiction of light, and of the illumination of sun and moon on clouds and water: optical phenomena peculiar to the Baltic coast that had never before been painted with such an emphasis.[25]

Move to Dresden

Friedrich established his reputation as an artist when he won a prize in 1805 at the Weimar competition organised by the writer, poet, and dramatist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. At the time, the Weimar competition tended to draw mediocre and now long-forgotten artists presenting derivative mixtures of neo-classical and pseudo-Greek styles. The poor quality of the entries began to prove damaging to Goethe's reputation, so when Friedrich entered two sepia drawings—Procession at Dawn and Fisher-Folk by the Sea—the poet responded enthusiastically and wrote, "We must praise the artist's resourcefulness in this picture fairly. The drawing is well done, the procession is ingenious and appropriate... his treatment combines a great deal of firmness, diligence and neatness... the ingenious watercolour... is also worthy of praise."[26]

Friedrich completed the first of his major paintings in 1807, at the age of 34. The Cross in the Mountains, today known as the Tetschen Altar (Galerie Neue Meister, Dresden), is an altarpiece panel commissioned by the Countess of Thun for her family's chapel in Tetschen, Bohemia. It was to be one of the few commissions the artist received.[27] The altar panel depicts the crucified Christ in profile at the top of a mountain, alone and surrounded by nature. The cross reaches the highest point in the pictorial plane but is presented from an oblique and a distant viewpoint, unusual for a crucifixion scene in Western art. Nature dominates the scene and for the first time in Christian art, an altarpiece showcases a landscape. According to the art historian Linda Siegel, the design of the altarpiece is the "logical climax of many earlier drawings of his which depicted a cross in nature's world."[27]

The work was first exhibited on Christmas Day, 1808.[27] Although it was generally coldly received, it was nevertheless Friedrich's first painting to receive wide publicity. The artist's friends publicly defended the work, while art critic Basilius von Ramdohr published a lengthy article rejecting Friedrich's use of landscape in such a context; he wrote that it would be "a veritable presumption, if landscape painting were to sneak into the church and creep onto the altar". Ramdohr fundamentally challenged the concept that pure landscape painting could convey explicit meaning.[28] Friedrich responded with a programme describing his intentions. In his 1809 commentary on the painting, he compared the rays of the evening sun to the light of the Holy Father.[29] The sinking of the sun suggests that the era when God revealed himself directly to man has passed. This statement marked the only time Friedrich recorded a detailed interpretation of his own work.

Friedrich was elected a member of the Berlin Academy in 1810 following the purchase of two of his paintings by the Prussian Crown Prince.[30] Yet in 1816, he sought to distance himself from Prussian authority, and that June applied for Saxon citizenship. The move was unexpected by his friends, as the Saxon government of the time was pro-French, while Friedrich's paintings to date were seen as generally patriotic and distinctly anti-French. Nevertheless, with the aid of his Dresden-based friend Graf Vitzthum von Eckstädt, Friedrich attained not only citizenship, but in 1818, a place in the Saxon Academy as a member with a yearly dividend of 150 thalers.[31] Although he hoped to receive a full Professorship, it was never awarded him as, according to the German Library of Information, "it was felt that his painting was too personal, his point of view too individual to serve as a fruitful example to students."[32] Politics too may have played a role in the stalling of his career: Friedrich's decidedly Germanic choice of subject and costuming frequently clashed with the prevailing pro-French attitudes of the time.[33]

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Caspar David Friedrich - c. 1823 by Carl Christian Vogel von Vogelstein

Caspar David Friedrich - ca. 1836-1837

Caspar David Friedrich - Cairn in Snow 1807

Caspar David Friedrich - Chalk Cliffs at Ruegen 1825-26

Chalk Cliffs on Rügen (1818). 90.5 × 71 cm. Museum Oskar Reinhart am Stadtgarten, Winterthur, Switzerland. Friedrich married Christiane Caroline Bommer in 1818, and on their honeymoon they visited relatives in Neubrandenburg and Greifswald. This painting celebrates the couple's union.[34]

Caspar David Friedrich - Das Kreuz im Gebirge 1807-8

Caspar David Friedrich - Der Sommer (Landschaft mit Liebespaar) 1807

Caspar David Friedrich - Friedrich in his studio, 1811, by Georg Friedrich Kersting

Caspar David Friedrich - Küste bei Mondschein 1835-36

Caspar David Friedrich - Mann und Frau in Betrachtung des Mondes - Alte Nationalgalerie Berlin 1818-24

Caspar David Friedrich - oil on canvas, by Carl Johann Baehr, 1836, New Masters Gallery, Dresden

Caspar David Friedrich (Greifswald, 5 de septiembre de 1774 – Dresde, 7 de mayo de 1840) fue un pintor paisajista del romanticismo alemán del Siglo XIX, generalmente considerado el artista alemán más importante de su generación.1 Es conocido por sus paisajes alegóricos de su periodo medio que muestra figuras contemplativas opuestas a cielos nocturnos, nieblas matinales, árboles estériles o ruinas góticas. Su interés primario como artista era la reflexión de la naturaleza y su trabajo, a menudo simbólico y anti clásico intenta dar una respuesta subjetiva y emocional al mundo natural. Las pinturas de Friedrich establecen la presencia humana en una perspectiva disminuida en contraste a extensos paisajes, reduciendo las proporciones a una escala que, según el historiador de arte Christopher John Murray «dirige la mirada del espectador hacia su dimensión metafísica».2

Friedrich maduró en una época en la que crecía la desilusión en toda la clase media europea dando lugar a una nueva apreciación de la espiritualidad. Este cambio en los ideales se expresa a menudo a través de una revaluación de la naturaleza, en artistas como Friedrich, Joseph Mallord William Turner y John Constable que trataron de representar la naturaleza como una «creación divina, que debe ajustarse contra el artificio de la civilización humana».3

Los trabajos que Friedrich realizó le trajeron renombre muy temprano en su carrera, y contemporáneos suyos como el escultor francés David d'Angers lo describían como el hombre que había descubierto «la tragedia del paisaje». Sin embargo, su obra cayó en desgracia durante sus últimos años y él murió en la oscuridad; en palabras del historiador del arte Philip Miller «medio loco». Mientras Alemania migraba hacia la modernización a finales del Siglo XIX, un nuevo sentido de urgencia caracterizó el arte, y las descripciones contemplativas y de quietud de Friedrich llegaron a ser vistas como el producto de una época pasada. El Siglo XX trajo consigo una renovada apreciación de su obra, a partir de 1906 con una exposición de treinta y dos de sus pinturas en Berlín. Para la década de 1920 sus pinturas habían sido descubiertas por los expresionistas. En la década de 1930 y principios de 1940 los surrealistas y existencialistas tomaron con frecuencia ideas prestadas de su trabajo. El ascenso del nazismo en 1930 trajo consigo el resurgimiento de la popularidad de Friedrich, pero éste decayó junto con el régimen debido a la errónea asociación de su nacionalismo con esta ideología. No fue sino a finales de 1970 cuando Friedrich recuperó su reputación como icono del romanticismo alemán y pintor de renombre mundial.


Caspar David Friedrich era el sexto de los nueve hijos de Adolf Gottlieb Friedrich, un fabricante de velas y jabones de Greifswald, y su esposa Sophie Dorothea Friedrich, de soltera Bechly. Greifswald pertenecía, como toda la Nueva Pomerania Anterior y desde la guerra de los Treinta Años a la corona sueca. Ambos progenitores procedían de la ciudad de Neubrandenburg, en la actual Mecklemburgo-Pomerania Occidental, que Friedrich visitó en varias ocasiones.

Fue educado según la confesión protestante de su familia. Varios fallecimientos ocurridos en su familia a lo largo de su infancia le indujeron a que se ocupase intensamente en el tema de la muerte. Así, en 1781 murió su madre; al año siguiente, su hermana Elisabeth de viruela; en 1787 su hermano Johann Christoffer, ahogado al intentar salvar al propio Caspar que se había hundido en el hielo, lo que le conmovió tanto por su corta edad, 7 años, como por creerse culpable de tal suceso; y, finalmente, su hermana María en 1791 por tifus.

Hacia 1790, cuando tenía 16 años, y quizá ya en 1788, recibió clases de Johann Gottfried Quistrop, profesor de Dibujo de la Universidad de Greifswald, quien probablemente le transfirió su entusiasmo por el paisaje de su tierra natal. Entre 1794 y 1798 estudió en la Academia Real de Bellas Artes de Dinamarca, fundada en 1754 según el modelo francés y considerada por entonces una de las Academias más modernas. Allí fue alumno de Nicolai Abildgaard y, sobre todo, de August Lorentzen y Jens Juel, uno de los pintores daneses más importantes del siglo XVIII. Pintó vaciados de yeso de esculturas clásicas, formándose más como dibujante que como pintor.

En 1798 regresó a Greifswald, renovando su amistad con el poeta y patriota «demagogo» Ernst Moritz Arndt, y en el otoño del mismo año se trasladó a Dresde, el centro del movimiento romántico alemán, donde acabó de formarse.

En Dresde vivió como pintor y mantuvo su residencia hasta su muerte. Frecuentó sobre todo al pintor y diseñador Philipp Otto Runge, formado como él en la Academia de Copenhague, y a los escritores y poetas Ludwig Tieck y Novalis, formando con ellos el centro literario-artístico del romanticismo alemán. Fue Friedrich un pintor-filósofo, que contaba entre sus amistades no sólo con pintores (Runge, Dahl, Kersting, Kügelgen, Ferdinand Hartmann, y Louise Seidler), sino también con escultores (Christian Gottlieb Kühn), poetas (Tieck, Heinrich von Kleist), el filósofo y naturalista Gotthilf Heinrich Schubert.

En 1799 expuso por primera vez su obra, dibujos de paisajes, en la Academia de Bellas Artes de Dresde.

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Wanderer above the Sea of Fog (1818). 94.8 × 74.8 cm, Kunsthalle Hamburg. This well-known and especially Romantic masterpiece was described by the historian John Lewis Gaddis as leaving a contradictory impression, "suggesting at once mastery over a landscape and the insignificance of the individual within it. We see no face, so it's impossible to know whether the prospect facing the young man is exhilarating, or terrifying, or both."[1]

Georg Friedrich Kersting, Caspar David Friedrich in his Studio (1819) Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin. Kersting portrays an aged Friedrich holding a maulstick at his canvas.

Caspar David Friedrich - Bohemian Landscape with Mount Milešovka 1809

Caspar David Friedrich - Wald im Spätherbst 1835


Painter: Caspar David Friedrich - Part 1 - Bio data English y Espanol - Links

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