wanderer above the sea fog

Wanderer above the sea fog
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.
Media related to Der Wanderer über dem Nebelmeer at Wikimedia Commons

Wanderer above the sea fog
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]
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 the sea fog
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”.
In the foreground, a young man stands upon a rocky precipice with his back to the viewer. He is wrapped in a dark green overcoat, and grips a walking stick in his right hand. His hair caught in a wind, the wanderer gazes out on a landscape covered in a thick sea of fog. In the middle ground, several other ridges, perhaps not unlike the ones the wanderer himself stands upon, jut out from the mass. Through the wreaths of fog, forests of trees can be perceived atop these escarpments. In the far distance, faded mountains rise in the left, gently leveling off into lowland plains in the east. Beyond here, the pervading fog stretches out indefinitely, eventually commingling with the horizon and becoming indistinguishable from the cloud-filled sky.

Wanderer above the sea fog
The man himself appears to have hiked up this mountain and now looks out over the precipice at the heights he has scaled. He is an explorer — though we sense driven more by romantic sensibility than by any professional pursuit. The way his hair catches in the wind, his overtly noble stance with one leg raised, his frock coat and walking cane, all give the impression of a well-to-do town-dweller who has chosen to spend time in the wilds of nature rather than human society.
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.

Wanderer above the sea fog
T he work of fine art I chose to critique is one of my all-time favorite pieces of art, the painting Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog by Caspar David Friedrich. Completed in 1818, the oil painting is representative of the German Romantic era; it depicts a man in a coat with a cane standing on a rocky outcropping with his back turned gazing out at a violent, foggy sea. Recognized throughout the entire world, it is one of the most famous and iconic Romantic paintings.
The environment of the painting was chosen to perfectly illustrate the order of man against a chaotic background. A violent, foggy sea is the harshest environment man could face, it could swallow you up in an instance and you would be gone forever without the slightest trace, lost for eternity to the treacherous waters. The sea also alludes to the bold spirit of sea travelers who explored new lands, conquering nature, exerting their will over it, daring to tread forth toward a fresh frontier, bravely going where no man had gone before.



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