The Cross in the Mountains∞ Caspar David Friedrich Oil on Canvas Düsseldorf Museum Kunst Palast
Rocky Reef on the Sea Shore∞ Caspar David Friedrich 1824 Oil on Canvas Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe
Caspar David Friedrich
“Close your bodily eye, that you may see your picture first with the eye of the spirit. Then bring to light what you have seen in the darkness, that its effect may work back, from without to within.”
Profoundly yet sensitively Germanic, images by Caspar David Friedrich are those of a Wagner in nucleo - without the heavy orchestral breathing. Implicitly musical, the painter’s tender art reaches back to Mozart and on to Richard Strauss, filled with death and transfiguration. A one-man, more benevolent Brothers Grimm, Friedrich, born in Swedish Pomerania, never terrorized his enchanted audience of overgrown Kindergartners.
Protestantism, conveyed by the vehicle of the visual arts, tended to see Nature more as pagan Mother than God’s Work, too close to pantheism for comfort (or a free ride). Friedrich presents an exception. His anti-Classical emphasis upon experience, its reception and communication, stressed the personal, the “I in the eye,” the mind, the heart, and the hand. Heinrich von Kleist wrote how a Friedrich landscape, one “with nothing but a frame as foreground,” made him feel as if his “eyelids had been cut away.” So radical a perception of the image shows Friedrich’s art as a shocking breakthrough, bordering upon an expressionistic confrontation, facing infinity.Colin Eisler, "Masterworks in Berlin: A City's Paintings Reunited"