how to draw the wanderer above a sea of fog

How to draw the wanderer above a sea of fog
Media related to Der Wanderer über dem Nebelmeer at Wikimedia Commons
Wanderer above the Sea of Fog (German: Der Wanderer über dem Nebelmeer), also known as Wanderer above the Mist or Mountaineer in a Misty Landscape, [1] is an oil painting c. 1818 [2] by the German Romantic artist Caspar David Friedrich. It has been considered one of the masterpieces of Romanticism and one of its most representative works. It currently resides in the Kunsthalle Hamburg in Hamburg, Germany.

How to draw the wanderer above a sea of fog
The success of this painting, I think, lies in the possibility of this ambiguity: that a scene of such glory can also pose the threat of tragedy or personal alienation. What is he thinking as he stands there? It is impossible to tell.
Friedrich used landscape as a way of expressing profound experience, and was able to link this to his protestant background. Yet even in his early output, it was clear that his sensibility allowed for a greater array of moods and possibilities than just religious veneration. His later work explored the spiritual side of humankind on a more universal level: face to face with the mystery and loneliness of great landscapes, a pensive glorification of nature in all its sublime and frightening grandeur.

How to draw the wanderer above a sea of fog
Wanderer above the Sea of Fog
As this man was most likely killed in 1813 or 1814, this painting may also serve as a patriotic tribute.

How to draw the wanderer above a sea of fog
I also draw your attention to the different techniques Friedrich used to alter the hardness of the edges.
The stance of the man is an important feature of the painting in and of itself. He is leaning primarily on one leg and there is a slight shift in his body to counter this. This is known as contrapposto, which is Italian for “opposite” or “counter”. It is considered a natural and visually pleasing stance (think about what the painting would look like if he was standing straight and rigid).

How to draw the wanderer above a sea of fog
This new way of creating landscapes reinforced the idea that the viewer should contemplate the sublimity of the natural world and read into it an expression of the spiritual. The potential for deep meaning in a sparse, non-narrative style, would be critical to modernist abstraction. This painting, in particular, has been linked with the post World War II Color Field paintings of Mark Rothko, also intended to cultivate a spiritual experience for the viewer.
Oil on canvas – Collection of Kunsthalle Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany

References:

http://medium.com/thinksheet/how-to-read-paintings-wanderer-above-the-sea-of-fog-by-caspar-david-friedrich-b8c8f0e20d45
http://www.artble.com/artists/caspar_david_friedrich/paintings/wanderer_above_the_sea_of_fog
http://drawpaintacademy.com/wanderer-above-the-sea-of-fog/
http://m.theartstory.org/artist/friedrich-caspar-david/artworks/
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wanderer_above_the_Sea_of_Fog

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