wanderer above a sea of mist

Wanderer above a sea of mist
Wanderer above the Sea of Fog is true to the Romantic style and Friedrich’s style in particular, [6] being similar to other works such as Chalk Cliffs on Rügen and The Sea of Ice. Gorra’s (2004) analysis was that the message conveyed by the painting is one of Kantian self-reflection, expressed through the wanderer’s gazings into the murkiness of the sea of fog. [4] Dembo (2001) sympathised, asserting that Wanderer presents a metaphor for the unknown future. [7] Gaddis (2004) felt that the impression the wanderer’s position atop the precipice and before the twisted outlook leaves “is contradictory, suggesting at once mastery over a landscape and the insignificance of the individual within it”. [3]
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”. [11]

Wanderer above a sea of mist
Notice how the darks represent the man, rocks, and other “solid” objects; whilst the lights represent the clouds, sky, and fog. So not only is there a contrast between light and dark, but also between solid and transient.
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Wanderer above a sea of mist
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.
Locating and representing the moods of nature was Friedrich’s underpinning as an artist. Born is 1774 in the harbour town of Greifswald, his first subjects were the wild Baltic coastlands of northeastern Germany. Gradually, his depictions of nature began to contain crosses, Gothic buildings and religious motifs reflecting his strict Lutheran upbringing. With these symbols he found a means of heightening the intensity of landscape to a level where it seems heavy with allegory. He often ‘invented’ his paintings by fusing together several sketches from different locations into one image, sometimes even using the sketches made by other artists to fulfill his vision.

Wanderer above a sea of mist
Wanderer above the Sea of Fog is true to the Romantic style and Friedrich’s style in particular, [6] being similar to other works such as Chalk Cliffs on Rügen and The Sea of Ice. Gorra’s (2004) analysis was that the message conveyed by the painting is one of Kantian self-reflection, expressed through the wanderer’s gazings into the murkiness of the sea of fog. [4] Dembo (2001) sympathised, asserting that Wanderer presents a metaphor for the unknown future. [7] Gaddis (2004) felt that the impression the wanderer’s position atop the precipice and before the twisted outlook leaves “is contradictory, suggesting at once mastery over a landscape and the insignificance of the individual within it”. [3]
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”. [11]

Wanderer above a sea of mist
Other scholars have read autobiographical interpretations into the painting that reference the loss of the artist’s beloved brother in a childhood accident. Friedrich himself had fallen through some ice and his brother died trying to save him. We know that, in his later years, Friedrich often used his paintings to reflect of questions of loss and mortality, coming to terms with the tragedies of his childhood.
The symbolism of this painting has been interpreted on political, autobiographical, and spiritual levels. Certainly, this scene of devastation suggests a deeper meaning; the work is not associated with any historical or literary source. Some have viewed it politically as a statement against the German government. According to the scholar Norbert Wolf, “The sailing ship being slowly crushed by pack of ice in a polar landscape otherwise devoid of signs of human life may be understood as a pathos-laden metaphor for a catastrophe on an epochal scale, whereby visually coded references to ruin and nevertheless to hope, to destruction and to regeneration, combine into a symbolic protest against the oppressive ‘political winter’ gripping Germany under Metternich.”

References:

http://drawpaintacademy.com/wanderer-above-the-sea-of-fog/
http://medium.com/thinksheet/how-to-read-paintings-wanderer-above-the-sea-of-fog-by-caspar-david-friedrich-b8c8f0e20d45
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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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