how is wanderer above the sea of fog romantic
Some meaning of this work is lost in the translation of its title. In German, the title is “Wanderer über dem Nebelmeer”. Wanderer in German can mean either “wanderer” or “hiker”. 
With the composition of the figure’s back placed towards the observer otherwise known as Rückenfigur,  it allows the observer to gain insight into Friedrich’s experience.  Friedrich himself states his ideas in regards to this, “The artist should paint not only what he has in front of him but also what he sees inside himself.” 
I enjoy this painting for many reasons. I believe it captures the spirit of romanticism while also incorporating its own distinctly German elements to it — if you have even a shallow familiarity with art history, you look at it and just know it’s German. Also, there’s simply the pure aesthetic appeal of the painting: it’s interesting to look at and the suggestions it makes captivates the imagination.
The man has his back turned so that his face cannot be seen. I think this is so that the viewer can put himself in the man’s spot and imagine himself there. In regards to my interpretation of the painting’s meaning, I think his back is turned because it doesn’t matter who he is because man has always arisen to the challenge of conquering nature. He is everyone, he is all of mankind, which has also taken the first steps down bold new roads and embraced the uncertainty of brave new ideas.
What is he thinking as he stands there? It is natural to make the case for an optimistic interpretation: that he has trekked to the top of this rocky precipice, and now, exalted by his efforts, looks over the entire world — glorious and inspired, elevated and dignified.
Wanderer above the Sea of Fog is not a real view but was pieced together from different places visited by Friedrich during his sketching travels across Germany and Switzerland. The details of the rocky hilltop, for instance, can be traced back to a drawing made on 3 June 1813 at Kaiserkrone hill in the German state of Saxony.
Oil on canvas – Collection of Thuringer Landesmuseum Heidecksburg, Rudolstadt, Germany
Additionally, this painting shows Friedrich’s masterful use of negative space and absence to create a sense of loss and longing. The depiction of ruins and the barren trees suggest death and abandonment, compounded by the dull, muted color palette and uneven compositional balance. Like his The Monk by the Sea, the majority of the canvas depicts only empty sky. Yet the message is not nihilistic: soft light suggests the sun shines down through the clouds; the oak trees are barren, but not dead. There is a promise of rebirth and resurrection.
Wanderer above the Sea of Fog
Caspar David Friedrich