Thursday, 25 October 2007
Caspar David Friedrich
Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840) was one of the greats, a German Romantic artist whose works you probably know even if his name is unfamiliar to you. There's a fine gallery of his works online here.
Some of his more famous paintings are shown here: Der Wanderer über dem Nebelmeer (The Wanderer Above the Sea of Clouds)
The Abbey in the Oakwood
Moonrise by the Sea
He's also the go-to artist for many books with a Gothic or Romantic atmosphere (especially the classics).
Looking at all of this effective gloom, it's perhaps significant to remember Friedrich's family background. His mother died when he was seven and his sister died of typhoid. Even worse, his brother drowned while trying to save the young Friedrich when the ice on a frozen lake broke up under his weight. His own career was ended by a stroke which left him paralysed and unable to paint. Sadly, not all of his work has survived, some of it destroyed in the fire-bombing of Dresden and the arson attack on the Munich Glaspalast.
UPDATE: The tremendously wise John Self of Asylum points out in the comments that The Wanderer Above the Sea of Clouds was also used on the original hardback (and this US paperback) of Patrick McGrath's Dr Haggard's Disease.
UPDATE 2: Stewart of the excellent BookLit blog has kindly donated his scan of the original cover to Dr Haggard's Disease, which also uses this image.