Caspar David Friedrich was born in 1774 Greifswald, Germany, in a simple workers family. His childhood was saddened by the death of his mother and two sisters. From 1790 on he took lessons at the art academy in Greifswald (his teacher Quistorp would be a big influence on him) and later at the art academy in Kopenhagen. From 1798 on Friedrich lived and worked in Dresden, where he died in 1840. (Of course a longer biography can be found on this Wiki page
In his work and thinking, Friedrich is a typical Romanticist:
“Close your bodily eye, so that you may see your picture first with the spiritual eye. Then bring to the light of day that which you have seen in the darkness so that it may react upon others from the outside inwards. Painters train themselves in inventing or, as they call it, composing. Does not that mean perhaps, in other words that they train themselves in patching and mending? A picture must not be invented but felt.”
The Tree of Crows
1822 (90 Kb); Oil; Louvre
Elements you will often see in Friedrichs art are solemn landscapes with full moons, leafless trees in winter, snow, funeral processions, and people seen from the back (the Rückenfigur) in old-fashioned garb. Sometimes a little sad, but also beautiful.
1821; Oil on canvas, 55 x 71 cm; National Gallery, Berlin
1821; Oil on canvas, 22 x 30.5 cm; Niedersachsisches Landesmuseum, Hannover
After East-Germany became accessible again around 15 years ago and the museums in Leipzig and Dresden could receive visitors from all over the world, Caspar David Friedrich became regained popularity. There are more and more exhibitions you can visit and museums pride themselves on having his paintings.
See more Friedrich:
To see a lot of his works in high quality:
To see his works in person you might want to visit Berlin’s Alte National Galerie, which has a beautiful room entirely filled with his art.
If you enjoy walking (or novelties!), the National Park Sächsische Sweiz has a ‘painter route,’ a route you can walk and see where famous painters, among which Friedrich, came to find inspiration and to paint!