who was caspar david friedrich
In September, he visits St Mary’s Church in Greifswald, not least in order to start negotiations about a draft for the construction of an altar. However, the City Council rejects Friedrich’s draft. He returns to Dresden in October.
In April, Friedrich travels to Neubrandenburg and spends some time in his native town Greifswald in the coming months. His father, Adolf Gottlieb, dies on 6 November.
Friedrich began his formal study of art in 1790 as a private student of artist Johann Gottfried Quistorp at the University of Greifswald in his home city, at which the art department is now named Caspar-David-Friedrich-Institut  in his honour. Quistorp took his students on outdoor drawing excursions; as a result, Friedrich was encouraged to sketch from life at an early age.  Through Quistorp, Friedrich met and was subsequently influenced by the theologian Ludwig Gotthard Kosegarten, who taught that nature was a revelation of God.  Quistorp introduced Friedrich to the work of the German 17th-century artist Adam Elsheimer, whose works often included religious subjects dominated by landscape, and nocturnal subjects.  During this period he also studied literature and aesthetics with Swedish professor Thomas Thorild. Four years later Friedrich entered the prestigious Academy of Copenhagen, where he began his education by making copies of casts from antique sculptures before proceeding to drawing from life.  Living in Copenhagen afforded the young painter access to the Royal Picture Gallery’s collection of 17th-century Dutch landscape painting. At the Academy he studied under teachers such as Christian August Lorentzen and the landscape painter Jens Juel. These artists were inspired by the Sturm und Drang movement and represented a midpoint between the dramatic intensity and expressive manner of the budding Romantic aesthetic and the waning neo-classical ideal. Mood was paramount, and influence was drawn from such sources as the Icelandic legend of Edda, the poems of Ossian and Norse mythology. 
His reputation as an artist was established when he won a prize in 1805 at the Weimar competition organised by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. At the time, the Weimar competition tended to draw mediocre and now-forgotten artists presenting derivative mixtures of neo-classical and pseudo-Greek styles. The poor quality of the entries began to prove damaging to Goethe’s reputation, so when Friedrich entered two sepia drawings—Procession at Dawn and Fisher-Folk by the Sea—the poet responded enthusiastically and wrote, “We must praise the artist’s resourcefulness in this picture fairly. The drawing is well done, the procession is ingenious and appropriate. his treatment combines a great deal of firmness, diligence and neatness. the ingenious watercolour. is also worthy of praise.” 
Friedrich himself interpreted the painting as representing man’s continuous faith and hope in the person of Jesus Christ despite the decline of formalized religion. Whether populated by Christian symbols or not, Friedrich’s landscapes all possess a spiritual quality, and such religious meanings reflect his own mystical convictions. Contact with the romantic writers had convinced him that “art must have its source in man’s inner being; yet, it must be dependent on a moral or religious value.” Among his aphorisms on art, he wrote: “The noble man (artist) recognizes God in everything…. Shut your corporeal eye so that you first see your picture with your spiritual eye. Then bring to light that which you saw in darkness so that it may reflect on others from the exterior to their spiritual interior.” Like the romantic writers, he saw art as the mediator between man and the mystical sources of nature. His own time Friedrich viewed as being on the periphery of all religions, founded on the ruins of the temples of the past and building for a future of clarity and nondogmatic religious truth.
A surprisingly balanced pamphlet on Friedrich was published by the German Library of Information, Caspar David Friedrich: His Life and Work (1940). More recent is Leopold D. Ettlinger, Caspar David Friedrich (1967). See also Marcel Brion, Art of the Romantic Era (trans. 1966).
(September 5, 1774 – May 7, 1840)
Friedrich was born in Greifswald in northern Germany in 1774. He studied in Copenhagen until 1798 before settling in Dresden. He came of age during a period when, across Europe, a growing disillusionment with an over-materialistic society led to a new appreciation for spiritualism. This was often expressed through a reevaluation of the natural world, as artists such as Friedrich, J. M. W. Turner and John Constable sought to depict nature as a “divine creation, to be set against the artifice of human civilization”.
Caspar David Friedrich was born the sixth of ten children in Greifswald, Swedish Pomerania, on the Baltic Sea. He grew up under the strict Lutheran creed of his father Adolf Gottlieb, a prosperous candle-maker and soap boiler. Friedrich had an early familiarity with death: his mother, Sophie Dorothea Bechly, died in 1781 when Caspar David was just seven. At the age of thirteen, Caspar David witnessed his brother, Johann Christoffer, fall through the ice of a frozen lake and drown. Some accounts suggest that Johann Christoffer succumbed while trying to rescue Caspar David, who was also in danger on the ice. His sister Elisabeth died in 1782, while a second sister, Maria, succumbed to typhus in 1791.
In 1790, Friedrich began to study art with Johann Gottfried Quistorp at the University of Greifswald, and literature and aesthetics with the Swedish professor Thomas Thorild. Thorild was interested in the contemporary English aesthetic, and taught Friedrich to distinguish between the spiritual ‘inner eye’ and the less favourable physical ‘outer eye’. Friedrich entered the prestigious Academy of Copenhagen in 1794 where he studied under teachers such as Christian August Lorentzen and the landscape painter Jens Juel. These artists were inspired by the Sturm und Drang movement, and represented a midpoint between the dramatic intensity and expressive manner of the budding Romantic aesthetic and the by then waining neo-classical form. Mood was paramount, and influence was drawn from such sources as the Icelandic legend of Edda and Ossian, and Nordic folklore. A talented student, Friedrich began his education at the academy by making copies of casts from antique sculptures, before proceeding to drawing from life. He was keenly interested in seventeenth-century Dutch landscape painting, to which he had access at Copenhagen’s Royal Picture Gallery.