“A Wanderer over the Sea of Fog,” Caspar David Friedrich – overview of the painting

“A Wanderer over the Sea of Fog,” Caspar David Friedrich – overview of the painting
“A Wanderer over the Sea of Fog,” Caspar David Friedrich - overview of the painting - 1

    • Posted by Caspar David Friedrich
    • Museum: Hamburg Kunsthalle
    • Year: 1818

Overview of the painting :

The wanderer over the fog sea is Caspar David Friedrich. 1818. Oil on canvas. 94.8 x 74.8 cm

The painting “A Wanderer over the Sea of Fog” is actually textbook in order to study the style and emotional content of the work of the German romantic artist Caspar David Friedrich.

The point of reference is a person, or rather his state of mind. Portraying a realistic nature, the artist still gives a perception of it through the prism of the human soul. Hence the philosophical, mystical thoughts that certainly arise when looking at the picture of a painter.

The figure of a person 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 his back on us, and we, the audience, stand on a rocky ledge and look at the turbulent expanse. Such a “inclusion” of the viewer through a hero turned to face the horizon is one sign that we are facing the creation of Frederick. However, some art historians tend to believe that in the presented work the master portrayed himself, and suggests looking at everything that happens through the prism of his emotions.

The landscape that a person looks at is striking in its grandeur and monumentality. This is the rare moment when, when “immersion” in a work, a trembling breaks. The fog, covering all the vast expanses, heavy and mysterious, exposes the sharp uneven peaks of the rocks. In the distance you can see the mighty mountains, “reinforcing” clouds. All this creates some kind of fantastic feeling.

Looking at the hero, whose place the author invites us to take, we can note a stubborn posture, disheveled hair, a tired pose, although the forward-looking leg gives out will and unbendingness in it. On it we see a dark frock coat, long boots, and a cane in the hand. It is amazing how exactly Frederick from the back was able to depict the deep thoughtfulness of the hero! A Byron character, a voluntary hermit, a wanderer, looking over everything with a share of cynicism and doom, immediately comes to mind. In the picture of Frederick, he merged with the surrounding landscape in his state of mind … or the landscape eagerly echoed him.

The theme of loneliness can be traced here especially sharply. A person is looking for a way to hide from others, to be alone with himself, and Frederick invented the best scenery for such a “dialogue” – a nature identified with a thinking hero and identified with spiritual isolation.

Undoubtedly, this picture is one of the most iconic in the history of painting a romantic direction.