“Ball Rock on the Island of Ryugen,” Caspar David Friedrich – overview of the painting

“Ball Rock on the Island of Ryugen,” Caspar David Friedrich – overview of the painting
“Ball Rock on the Island of Ryugen,” Caspar David Friedrich - overview of the painting - 1

  • Posted by Caspar David Friedrich
  • Museum: Winterthur, Switzerland
  • Year: 1818

Overview of the painting :

Crayfish on the island of Rügen – Caspar David Friedrich. 1818. Oil on canvas. 90 x 71 cm

   Usually, a hero who turned his back on the audience is sure to be present in the paintings of Caspar Friedrich, and in the work “Balk Rocks on the island of Rügen” we see three figures at once, looking at the vast sea. The painter introduced the character, hoping that the viewer would become the hero’s place and in this way “present” on the canvas. Here we can “try on” three images at once: a delighted woman in a red dress, a thoughtful man on the right, who crossed his arms over his chest (some take this pose for the prayer pose), and the most curious person who stands on his knees, getting to the very edge of the rock to make out the foot of the crayons.

   The picture can be divided into two parts – near and far plan. The special depth of the canvas is emphasized precisely by a combination of near and far plans. Everything that is in close proximity to the viewer is written in great detail and in detail, with clear contours and contrasts. But the landscape, which opens the chalk rocks, is performed more vaguely, as if through a veil. This unlimited sea surface goes far beyond the horizon and is written so emotionally with light-air subtleties that one cannot help but remember the pictures of impressionists. How many colors are here and the finest nuances! Greenish off the coast, the water smoothly turns into saturated blue, then darkens, denoting the deepest areas to paint closer to the horizon in the gentle pink shades. The “frame” gives a special charm to the sea landscape – broken whims of the Cretaceous rocks.

   The composition of the canvas is characterized by harmony and balance. On the sides there are rocks, opening up a luxurious view of the sea, and on top of it all crowns trees that bowed to each other, almost weaving branches among themselves. Some critics explain the presence of trees as a hint of a strong and sincere union of the artist and his wife.

   Only the most attentive eye can see two sailboats among the sparkling waves flooded with the sun. From this, the sea seems even more magnificent.

   The coloristic solution of the work is very rich. This is one of the most colorful paintings of Caspar Friedrich – brown, saturated green, blue and bright contrast spots protruding red (a heroine’s dress), sparkling white (rocks).

   A special mood creates sunlight. Many of Friedrich’s works are cloudy, excited, and here we see a clear sky that creates a serene mood.