wanderer above the mist

Wanderer above the mist
With the composition of the figure’s back placed towards the observer otherwise known as Rückenfigur, [8] it allows the observer to gain insight into Friedrich’s experience. [9] 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.” [10]
Robert Macfarlane discusses the painting in terms of its significant influence on how mountain climbing has been viewed in the Western world since the Romantic era, calling it the “archetypical image of the mountain-climbing visionary”, and describing its power in representing the concept that standing on mountain tops is something to be admired, an idea which barely existed in earlier centuries. [12]

Wanderer above the 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]
The painting is composed of various elements from the Elbe Sandstone Mountains in Saxony and Bohemia, sketched in the field but in accordance with his usual practice, rearranged by Friedrich himself in the studio for the painting. In the background to the right is the Zirkelstein. The mountain in the background to the left could be either the Rosenberg or the Kaltenberg. The group of rocks in front of it represent the Gamrig near Rathen. The rocks on which the traveler stands are a group on the Kaiserkrone. [5]

Wanderer above the mist
Robert Macfarlane discusses the painting in terms of its significant influence on how mountain climbing has been viewed in the Western world since the Romantic era, calling it the “archetypical image of the mountain-climbing visionary”, and describing its power in representing the concept that standing on mountain tops is something to be admired, an idea which barely existed in earlier centuries.
The painting is composed of various elements from the Elbe Sandstone Mountains in Saxony and Bohemia, sketched in the field but in accordance with his usual practice, rearranged by Friedrich himself in the studio for the painting. In the background to the right is the Zirkelstein. The mountain in the background to the left could be either the Rosenberg or the Kaltenberg. The group of rocks in front of it represent the Gamrig near Rathen. The rocks on which the traveler stands are a group on the Kaiserkrone.

Wanderer above the mist
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.
A man stands on top of a crag of rocks, overlooking a valley cloaked in mountain mist. Other ridges rise through the fog, giving the impression of islands in a sea.

Wanderer above the mist
As this man was most likely killed in 1813 or 1814, this painting may also serve as a patriotic tribute.
By separating the figure and the viewer, the latter focuses more on the beauty of the surroundings rather than the man’s role in nature.

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wanderer_above_the_Sea_of_Fog
http://www.wikiart.org/en/caspar-david-friedrich/the-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://www.artble.com/artists/caspar_david_friedrich/paintings/wanderer_above_the_sea_of_fog
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wanderer_above_the_Sea_of_Fog

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