Caspar David Friedrich. The Wanderer above the Mists. (1818).
Oil on Canvas. 95 x 75 cm.
Lyricism melancholic, the feeling of an identity between the interior being and the being of nature, the successive dashes of exaltation and despair, the weariness of the life which defines the romantic heart, are present at Rousseau at the French Lamartine or Musset and all literary Romanticism. Major figure of German romantic painting, Caspar David Friedrich composes a large number of landscapes melancholies , in particular of the seaside in the fog but also of the cemeteries, the tombs and the landscapes which are often the symbol of the loneliness of the man in front of the vastness of nature. The landscapes oscillate between a subtle mystical feeling and an impression of melancholy, of insulation, even of alienation. Its romantic pessimism is expressed directly. The painting excites the feelings. The man seems to dominate the landscape because it is with the top of him, but this one is so imposing that it is necessary to see a representation of beyond there, the infinite one of the universe. The rocks can symbolize the faith in the human one and the tops with far God. This true sea of clouds is the symbol of the infinite one. The character has an external point of view on the scene what induces a feeling of abandonment specific to the romantic character, and of weakness (symbolized by the cane).
Le spectateur est derrière le personnage leurs points de vue sont identiques.
The walker is on the geographical center of the painting. Between the 4 naturals points of interest.
The tension fields delimit 3 distinct zones : sky in top, sea of cloud in the center, the rock piton in the foreground.
The vertical axis is the continuity of the spinal column of the character. The horizontal axis is defined by a line of clouds. The painting is divided into four parts defined by the diagonals : high part: sky. Low part: rock piton. Left parts and right-hand side : almost perfect symmetry by the vertical axis. The division of the picture is geometrical but also chromatic: Low part : dark rocks (chestnuts, blacks…). Left parts and right-hand side: mix rock and of cloud, clear keys mottled (white, maroon, blue sky, blue cream…). High part : sky and clouds, very clear keys (white, blue various.) One thus witnesses a rise crescendo towards the light upwards of the painting.
The space which the character contemplates seems infinite. This infinite is at the origin of the feeling which gives birth to the painting. In front of infinite the man becomes aware of his true place in the universe, it is not immortal, its life will end one day.
On the right and on the left in the middle of the sea of cloud one distinguishes from the rock peaks and the trees. The 2 zones are symmetrical so that they seem to appear that the person could have wings…
The man to climb the rock peak needs a cane. It symbolizes the weakness of the man and his loneliness in front of the size of nature, an important topic for the romantic ones.
Light : The light comes from face, it reflects sky on the sea of cloud.
Colors : Very few colors, some blue, gray, creams, white.
Similar Paintings :
Caspar David Friedrich. Woman before the Rising Sun. (1818).
Caspar David Friedrich. Moonrise by the Sea. ( 1822).
Caspar David Friedrich. Evening Landscape with Two Men. (1830).