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Caspar David Friedrich - Wanderer above the Sea of Fog

The Wanderer above the Sea of Fog, a man, but in front of what?

What does Friedrich want to tell us with his painting?

We can see the mountains, the forests, the rocks and a lot of fog that sorrounds everything in front of us.

So, what does the wanderer see?

He’s lost in this sea of fog because Friedrich’s seas contain men’s thirst of infinity and his winter landscapes meditations on human frailty. The meaning of the picture has to be researched rather than with eyes, with the heart.

This is the representation of the loneliness of a man in front of the big questions of life: Friedrich doesn’t want to paint his dream of reality but the reality as it is with its light and its shadows. His greatness lies in being able to give dignity even to cracks:

“Do you think that nature expresses itself only through the contrast? Perhaps you pray the morning beauty only if the night before was stormy?

Do you think that where there’s unit there can’t be multiplicity or that multiplicity is empty?

It’s closed to art the sensibility of whom the nature doesn’t express itself in the most gentle armony and that recognizes his spirit only in the most acute contrast.” Friedrich

The magnifying glass wherewith Friedrich questions nature and also the purpose of his art is very interesting. The German painter feels he can be useful to humanity opening himself to the Absolute and turning his attention to the great questions of life: “The man is not an uncondition model for man, but it’s the divine, the infinity his destination.”

Through his art Friedrich tries to take us straight to the heart of the mystery; he pulls us in front of the sense of life. He knows that, in the end, we all are wanderers on heart and in order not to leave us too alone with our seas of fog, he offers us a small bridge to infinity.


Letizia Sarchini