Description of the picture:
Wanderer over the sea of fog – Caspar David Friedrich. 1818. Oil on canvas. 94.8 x 74.8 cm
The painting “Wanderer over the Sea of Fog” is actually a textbook in order to study the style and emotional content of the work of the German romantic artist Caspar David Friedrich.
The reference point is a person, or rather, his state of mind. Representing a realistic nature, the artist nevertheless gives its perception through the prism of the human soul. Hence the philosophical, mystical thoughts that certainly arise when looking at a picture of a painter.
The human figure on the canvas is another key point. Thus, the artist introduces the viewer into the space of the picture: this is not an unknown hero standing with his back to us, and we, the audience, are standing on a rocky ledge and looking at the turbulent expanse. This “inclusion” of the viewer through the hero, turned to face the horizon, is one sign that we have the creation of Frederick. However, some art historians are inclined to believe that the master depicted himself in the work presented, and offers to look at everything that happens through the prism of his emotions.
The landscape, which man gazes upon, amazes with its grandeur and monumentality. This is the rare moment when, when “immersed” in a work, it breaks through trembling. The fog, covering the vast expanse, heavy and mysterious, exposes the sharp uneven peaks of the rocks. In the distance, mighty mountains are visible, “propping up” the clouds. All this creates some kind of phantasmogoric feeling.
Looking at the hero, whose author the author invites us to take, we can note stubborn posture, disheveled hair, a tired posture, although the forward leg gives him freedom and inflexibility. On it we see a dark frock coat, long boots, and a cane in the hand. It is amazing how accurately Friedrich from the back was able to portray the hero’s deep thoughtfulness! A Byron character immediately comes to mind, a voluntary hermit, a wanderer looking at everything with a share of cynicism and doom. In the painting of Friedrich, he merged with the surrounding landscape in his state of mind … or the landscape kindly echoes him.
The theme of loneliness is especially acute here. A man is looking for a way to hide from others, to remain alone with himself, and Frederick came up with the best scenery for such a “dialogue” – nature, identified with the thinking hero and identified with spiritual isolation.
Undoubtedly, this picture is one of the most iconic in the history of painting of a romantic direction."