Saturday, February 24, 2018

Quotes from Caspar David Friedrich

German Romantic artist Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840) painted landscapes infused with spirit and feeling. What was in his mind as he painted them?

Caspar David Friedrich The Sea of Ice
"The divine is everywhere, even in a grain of sand."

Friedrich says: "The artist should not only paint what he sees before him, but also what he sees in himself. If, however, he sees nothing within him, then he should also refrain from painting what he sees before him."

"Every truthful work of art must express a definite feeling, must move the spirit of the spectator either to joy or to sadness…rather than try to unite all sensations, as thought mixed together with a stirring stick."

"You call me a misanthrope because I avoid society. You err; I love society. Yet in order not to hate people, I must avoid their company."

"I must stay alone and know that I am alone to contemplate and feel nature in full; I have to surrender myself to what encircles me, I have to merge with my clouds and rocks in order to be what I am. Solitude is indispensable for my dialogue with nature."
Read about Caspar David Friedrich's life on Wikipedia


Steven Thor Johanneson said...

One of my favorite Artists, along with the mighty Turner.

Guenevere Schwien said...

He's a pretty uplifting guy huh? Guess he is an example of where the depressed artist stereotype comes from. I try pretty hard not to be the depressed artist, but I can understand his sentiments too.

adolf witzeling said...

I like the melancholic and loneliness in his works. A perfect unity between eyes and mind.

Susan Krzywicki said...

Society wants us all to be the same: outgoing and cheerful. I think it might be helpful if we just let all of us be ourselves, unless of course there is some harm coming from the extremes of personalities. I can't figure out how we would do this - we seem to not recognize or address when someone's upbeat mania turns harmful, or the person who is alone to an extreme becomes beyond depressed.

Maybe the art people produce can help us- but what about those who are not so "articulate" with their creativity?

James Gurney said...

Thanks to all of you for your thoughts.

Guenevere, CDFriedrich had a melancholy life, starting with seeing his brother drown by falling through the ice, and later in life his work fell out of favor and he depended on the charity of friends. I suppose being personally depressed and having a melancholy outlook in one's art is a different thing.

In any event, I certainly am in agreement with Adolph and Stephen in responding to the wild loneliness and rapture of his artwork, which reminds me not just of Turner, but also of the poet Wordsworth, who also spoke of loneliness and nature.

Susan, you're posing some fascinating questions. When you say "society,: do you mean social media and personal interactions? Even the expectation to smile a lot in public seems to vary a lot from one culture to another. As for artists, I think we expect our creatives to be different and to explore the fringes of the psyche and the boundaries of experience. Being an artist isn't a formula for being happy, but being articulate about our emotions in our creative work is the key to meaningful artwork.