Wanderer above the Sea of Fog by Caspar David Friedrich is an oil painting. He was regarded to be the 19th-century German artist. The oil painting is of a formally dressed lone man in boots in a dark green overcoat with a cane, looking out over an inhospitable, cloudy landscape outcropping craggy, dark rocks. The viewers can only see his back. His left hand is on his left knee, while his hair is messy by wind, yet the man is standing still above swirling clouds under his feet.
Painting imbibed as
It was painted circa 1818 and is referred to as the ‘Wanderer above the Mist’ or ‘Mountaineer in a Misty Landscape.’ Before the subject, there are hazy mountains and the landscape flows on. The background has white clouds of puffs and mist wisps amidst rosy sky and the figure looks over the terrain such that the viewer feels the power of nature that towers the man’s quiet and calm solitude.
What are the various elements?
The painting is a composition of various elements and it includes:
- The Elbe Sandstone Mountains in Bohemia and Saxony.
- It is a field rearranged in the studio by Friedrich himself for this painting.
- The Zirkelstein is to the right as the background.
- The mountain to the left in the background is the Kaltenberg or the Rosenberg.
- The rocks are the Gamrig near Rathen.
- Finally, the traveler standing on the group of rocks is on the Kaiserkrone.
How is it indistinguishable?
A young man standing on a rocky cliff or abyss has his back to the viewers. His overcoat is dark green in color and he has a firm grip in his right hand over a walking stick. His hair is shuffled by wind and the wanderer gazes a landscape outside covered in a dense sea of fog, proving the painting title ‘Wanderer above the Sea of Fog.’
The middle ground has several ridges but is different from the ones that the wandered is standing upon. Amidst the wreaths of fog, the faded mountains to the left appear in the distance, while the forests of trees are on these escarpments, gently leveling into the eastern lowland plains. The fog stretches extend indefinitely, that it is indistinguishable mingling with the horizon.
What does his art speak?
Friedrich’s artwork, set at a focal point, is a masterpiece. ‘Wanderer above the Sea of Fog’ represents a man alone standing dressed formally with a walking cane firmly in his hand is standing and looking out at an expanse.
He perfectly stands still and his hair appears ruffled through the unseen wind, while beneath his feet are the uneven rocks. The background has white puffy clouds and amidst the sky, there are mountaintops as an outline barely visible. The man standing appears to contemplate the immenseness before him, while the natures sublimity is represented in a serene, calm view, though it reveals the fact of natural power and force that it can accomplish.
Friedrich is always well-known to made political statements through his creativity and painting. He has a knack of doing it in subtle ways. The details of his arts speak as:
- The costume standing above the sea of fog represents the costume worn by students and also the same is worn during Germany’s Wars of Liberation.
- This clothing during this painting period was banned by the new ruling government of Germany.
- This outfit on the figure was a deliberate attempt and was an albeit understatement made visual, standing against the government now.
- Friedrich presented in his work a political nature and he pursued the same in this art through his painting.
This painting was abused as intense German nationalism symbols by the Nazi regime. His painting was reinterpreted to match the political new intentions and in the 1980s, after nearly three decades, his work was appreciated and viewed again, keeping clear of the Nazism taint.
Although this artwork has his back to the viewer, he is not unidentifiable in the dark, long robe. The canvas dots with considerable expanses of color, besides it, is punctuated by trifling brushstrokes of white denoting wave crests and also birds flying in the sky. That is a masterpiece of pictorial restraint and minimalism, while it conjures a sense of wonder, awe, and humility felt.
Why is it a masterpiece?
‘Wanderer above the Sea of Fog’ is an oil painting work by Caspar David Friedrich, a German Romantic artist. It is regarded to be the best representative works, a masterpiece of Romanticism. It now is in the Kunsthalle in Hamburg, Germany.
- Caspar David Friedrich’s portrait is the greatest accomplishment of Friedrich.
- This masterpiece has the ability to transform landscapes into a spiritual and physiological biography.
- This masterpiece is his own portrait as a lay figure that is within his landscape.
- The beauty is that it is seen from behind.
This masterpiece reveals the personal perception of an artist who invites the viewers to see the world in a new way through the lens of perception and to feel the natural beauty calmness.
A true embellishment
It is a true embellishment to take this picture and cannot be regarded as amplification. It brings out the purity of art, offering a Romantic approach. Friedrich reformed the landscape painting’s generic conventions giving it creative self-expression.
His creativity has taken him to leaps that the artists are much ahead to be known as a ‘photographer.’ Friedrich always loved nature and took his task as a personal and private encounter with nature.
Friedrich was fascinated by the encountering nature idea that kept him in his best solitude on the sea edge, in deepest ravines, or even on a mountain pinnacle. It was the way he loved staying away from urban civilization.
Friedrich’s later paintings reveal ‘self-expression’ and focus on the same to stay connected with spiritual and physical isolation. This discloses the Romantics belief that an artist wishing to explore his emotions, need to stand outside the money-making mob, urban noise, and political gimmickry, to maintain their positions.