Author Topic: Caspar David Friedrich  (Read 922 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Jaakko Keskinen

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1967
  • Huge fan of 19th and 20th century art.
  • Location: Finland
Caspar David Friedrich
« on: November 27, 2018, 11:21:33 AM »
What do you think of this magnificent Romantic era painter? Definitely one of my top painters of all time. I much prefer him to Goya (Goya's paintings are often too horrifying or just, let's say it, sick, even if my favorite painting from Goya, The Colossus, has threatening atmosphere too. But Saturn Devouring His Son... well, there is a fine line between threatening and bleak and just... sick). However, Friedrich's paintings are among the most beautiful things I've ever seen. My favorite paintings from him include Cross in the Mountains (all versions), Rocks in the Harz Mountain, The Monk by the Sea, Chalk Cliffs on Rügen, Moonrise by the Sea, The Sea of Ice and, as cliché as it is, The Wanderer above the Mists.

"Javert, though frightful, had nothing ignoble about him. Probity, sincerity, candor, conviction, the sense of duty, are things which may become hideous when wrongly directed; but which, even when hideous, remain grand."

- Victor Hugo

Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3266
  • Location: Chicagoland
Re: Caspar David Friedrich
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2018, 12:16:19 PM »
One of my favorites too. I've seen his paintings "live" as it were, at a museum devoted to him in Berlin (I forget the name of it), and in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, and I think elsewhere.

His paintings also make great book and album covers.
formerly VELIMIR (before that, Spitvalve)

"Who knows not strict counterpoint, lives and dies an ignoramus" - CPE Bach

Offline North Star

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 17273
  • Location: Oulu, Finland
Re: Caspar David Friedrich
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2018, 12:34:47 PM »
One of the great Romantic artists for sure. Curious that you compare him to the older Goya, but don't mention Turner or Constable, born 1 & 2 years after Friedrich. The Englishmen seemed to be more interested in depicting nature, or the sensation of being in nature, while Friedrich's use of nature is more as a metaphor for human feelings.

As for Goya, you do pick the most gruesome example from his paintings. And there's lots of macabre/dark works in Goya's catalog to be sure, but while I might not want some of the darker prints depicting war on my wall,  I wouldn't call them sick. And there's always the Parasol and the dancers - but is there a work by Friedrich that could be described as 'happy'?  0:)
"Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it." - Confucius

My photographs on Flickr

Offline JBS

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1556
  • If music be the food of love, play on!
  • Location: USA
Re: Caspar David Friedrich
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2018, 12:42:04 PM »
This one is certainly not unhappy

Offline North Star

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 17273
  • Location: Oulu, Finland
Re: Caspar David Friedrich
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2018, 01:33:42 PM »
This one is certainly not unhappy
Indeed not, but does a mere absence of obvious unhappiness make something happy? ;) Friedrich's works seem to be more contemplative, people looking into a landscape or at ships sailing away, or at a misty landscape, whereas in Goya we see happy dancers, and yes a lot of horrified/crazy/violent/dead people too - in general, more action and expression. Not to imply that one is better than the other.
"Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it." - Confucius

My photographs on Flickr

Offline shirime

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 85
  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
Re: Caspar David Friedrich
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2018, 11:26:35 PM »
Probably not my favourite Romantic artist, but I really admire his approach to depicting nature, not as it is, but through externalising what the artist sees within them just as much. I do prefer Turner, to be honest, and Goya (but I think Goya is different enough from landscape artists like Friedrich to not really make a good comparison).

Saturn Devouring his Son is one of my all time favourite paintings. I don’t think it’s inherently sick at all, but I think the human conscience is. At any rate, it satisfies the naturally human morbid curiosity that appears in all cultures in art and folklore. Friedrich’s work seems to do something different, I think.

Offline vandermolen

  • Silver Subscriber
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 13886
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: Caspar David Friedrich
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2018, 12:11:43 AM »
One of my very favourite painters. 'Monk by the Sea' is the most extraordinary work, almost abstract and reminding me of Mark Rothko. It is a brilliant but very disturbing painting. Had the monk's head been above the horizon the meaning of the painting would, I think, have been totally different. As it is, it is a picture of isolation in immensity. One critic described it as 'like having your eye lids cut off':

Other favourites, and there are many, include 'The Stages of Life', 'On the Sailing Boat' (with his young wife Caroline) and 'Abbey in the Oak Forest'.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2018, 12:17:52 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Florestan

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 17249
  • Location: Bucharest, Romania
Re: Caspar David Friedrich
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2018, 01:05:39 AM »
is there a work by Friedrich that could be described as 'happy'?  0:)

Well, could this man ever have known (what) happiness (is) ?  :)



"I compose music because I must give utterance to my feelings, just as I talk because I must give utterance to my thoughts." --- Sergei Rachmaninoff

Offline North Star

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 17273
  • Location: Oulu, Finland
Re: Caspar David Friedrich
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2018, 01:07:19 AM »
Well, could this man ever have known (what) happiness (is) ?  :)
Quite so. :D
"Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it." - Confucius

My photographs on Flickr

Offline Florestan

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 17249
  • Location: Bucharest, Romania
Re: Caspar David Friedrich
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2018, 01:18:44 AM »
Quite so. :D

These two are not happy but not particularly anguished either.

"I compose music because I must give utterance to my feelings, just as I talk because I must give utterance to my thoughts." --- Sergei Rachmaninoff

Offline North Star

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 17273
  • Location: Oulu, Finland
Re: Caspar David Friedrich
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2018, 01:21:43 AM »
Yes, there are many works by Friedrich that do not depict anguish or any negative emotion.
"Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it." - Confucius

My photographs on Flickr

Offline shirime

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 85
  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
Re: Caspar David Friedrich
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2018, 01:48:07 AM »
One of my very favourite painters. 'Monk by the Sea' is the most extraordinary work, almost abstract and reminding me of Mark Rothko. It is a brilliant but very disturbing painting. Had the monk's head been above the horizon the meaning of the painting would, I think, have been totally different. As it is, it is a picture of isolation in immensity. One critic described it as 'like having your eye lids cut off':

Other favourites, and there are many, include 'The Stages of Life', 'On the Sailing Boat' (with his young wife Caroline) and 'Abbey in the Oak Forest'.

I think we must have similar taste regarding Friedrich. I love this one especially.

Offline pjme

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 279
  • Location: Europa
Re: Caspar David Friedrich
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2018, 02:23:34 AM »
This text seems to give some interesting insights. I've read only a few fragments now... I'll need some time to digest.

Abstract:
After Hegel’s famous philosophical dismissal of the sublime for its inadequacy, and in a postmodern age deprived of theological doctrines, there is increasing evidence for the relevance of Caspar David Friedrich’s romantic landscape painting for contemporary artists who seek to continue the tradition of the sublime. However, before inquiring into the problem of the current relevance of romanticism, this paper asks an apparently simpler question: Is there such a thing as a Friedrichian sublime, and if yes, what exactly is it? The first difficulty faced by commentators when dealing with his painting is to distinguish the sublime in Friedrich from the Kantian sublime without eliminating the category altogether. In order to answer this question the essay investigates the role assigned to the sublime by Friedrich himself as stated in his principal text and in relation to his paintings. It then makes a case for the contemporary relevance of Caspar David Friedrich's painterly relationship to the sublime by examining the British artist Anish Kapoor's reimagining of Friedrich’s 'Sea of Ice' (1824) in a monumental installation entitled 'Svayambh' (2007).

Download at:
https://dial.uclouvain.be/pr/boreal/object/boreal:168841

P.

Offline vandermolen

  • Silver Subscriber
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 13886
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: Caspar David Friedrich
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2018, 02:39:21 AM »
These two are not happy but not particularly anguished either.



I love the bottom painting 'On the Sailing Boat' with Friedrich and his new wife Caroline holding hands and embarking on their journey through life together towards some kind of Celestial City. I find the spiritual/religious  interpretations of his works convincing. There is an excellent book by Jens Jensen I think which transformed my understanding of Friedrich when I read it probably forty years ago.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2018, 02:43:54 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline vandermolen

  • Silver Subscriber
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 13886
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: Caspar David Friedrich
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2018, 02:49:51 AM »
I think we must have similar taste regarding Friedrich. I love this one especially.

Yes, we probably do. It was exhibited with 'Abbey in the Oak Forest' possibly showing  (in 'Monk by the Sea') the monk in life, on the barren wasteland looking out to sea and then (below) monk's funeral and journey through the ghostly portat to the Hereafter. I think that many of the paintings are declarations of Friedrich's faith although he was also associated with the nationalist movement in the wars against Napoloeon and sometimes depicted himself in national costume.
This picture featured on the front of my copy of Herman Hesse's 'Narziss and Goldmund' which I read at university (those were the days!)
« Last Edit: November 28, 2018, 02:52:24 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline vandermolen

  • Silver Subscriber
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 13886
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: Caspar David Friedrich
« Reply #15 on: November 28, 2018, 02:55:18 AM »
Another of my favourites 'The Stages of Life' one of his last paintings. You can see why he was an influence on the later Surrealists:
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline shirime

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 85
  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
Re: Caspar David Friedrich
« Reply #16 on: November 28, 2018, 05:42:33 AM »
Well, I’m at Neue Pinakothek in Munich right now and currently admiring Friedrich’s work. Sumpfinger Strand is another favourite of mine; that’s on another wall. I also happen to prefer Carl Rottmann.

Offline North Star

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 17273
  • Location: Oulu, Finland
Re: Caspar David Friedrich
« Reply #17 on: November 28, 2018, 08:06:52 AM »
Well, I’m at Neue Pinakothek in Munich right now and currently admiring Friedrich’s work. Sumpfinger Strand is another favourite of mine; that’s on another wall. I also happen to prefer Carl Rottmann.
Ah yes, Sumpfiger Strand (or Marshy beach). Beautiful indeed. Rottmann's landscapes remind me of the Hudson River School artists' works, showing perhaps a later, mid-nineteenth century style, influenced by Constable, Friedrich & Turner's works.
"Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it." - Confucius

My photographs on Flickr

Offline vandermolen

  • Silver Subscriber
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 13886
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: Caspar David Friedrich
« Reply #18 on: November 28, 2018, 02:18:32 PM »
Well, I’m at Neue Pinakothek in Munich right now and currently admiring Friedrich’s work. Sumpfinger Strand is another favourite of mine; that’s on another wall. I also happen to prefer Carl Rottmann.

How nice! I'm jealous. When I went to the Hermitage to see the paintings by Friedrich the relevant room was closed!
 >:D
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

 

Don't Like These Ads? Become a GMG Subscriber!
For as little as 14 cents per day, subscribers get no advertising on the forum, a larger Inbox for your PM's, and a warm glow of knowing you are supporting the forum. All this and a groovy Subscriber badge too!
Click here to read more.