Caspar David Friedrich
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Caspar David Friedrich
Biography



"The pure, frank sentiments we hold in our hearts are the only truthful sources of art. A painting which does not take its inspiration from the heart is nothing more than futile juggling. All authentic art is conceived at a sacred moment and nourished in a blessed hour; an inner impulse creates it, often without the artist being aware of it."

Born in Greifswald, he settled in Dresden in 1798. An ardent patriot, Friedrich was also devout, introspective, and prone to melancholy. His mother died when he was seven, and six years later his brother died as he was saving Friedrich from drowning.

These experiences deeply affected an already sensitive nature and endowed him with a lifelong obsession with death, God, and nature. In the solitary beauty of the landscape, Friedrich found comfort and inspiration. His travels to the Baltic coast, to the Riesengebirge (the Giant Mountains), and to the Harz Mountains provided him with subject matter. During these excursions, Friedrich made drawings of certain motifs - such as rainbows, old oaks, and fir trees - that had archetypal significance for him.

Remarkably gifted as an observer and interpreter of landscape, he was particularly adept at expressing nature through the eyes of a pious believer. "The divine is everywhere, even in a grain of sand", he wrote. Friedrich's fusion of observation with piety resulted in pictures of extraordinarily expressive power and spiritualism.

Stripped to an essence, Friedrich's paintings are hypnotic and memorable, evoking powerful longing, as though deep memories, dreams, and yearnings have been revived and ache to be fulfilled. The product of a singularly pious and sensitive personality, Friedrich's landscapes joined the writings of Goethe and Schiller, and the music of Beethoven as a particularly profound expression of German Romanticism.

contributed by Gifford, Katya

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