Caspar Friedrich: biography, creativity, career, personal life


Born Caspar David Friedrich in the German city of Greifswald in 1974. His family was in the soap making business, and no one contemplated art. However, Caspar painted well, so at sixteen he was given into training for a painting master to teach him the primary techniques of drawing. The teenager showed good results, and his father then sent him to Copenhagen — to be educated at the Academy of Fine Arts. For four years, Friedrich learned the art of painting and then returned home.

Artists are free people, and in search of inspiration can wander the light, which is what Caspar did. He began traveling around the cities of Germany — looking for where he would best work. Creativity itself requires different states: today the artist needs privacy not to be distracted from the process, and tomorrow he wants to communicate and get new impressions, so that later in the visual the form transfer them to the canvas.

The best place for himself Friedrich considered Dresden and stayed there to live. In this city he met other painters, and became friends with many. However, the uneven emotional state made it difficult to communicate with him, because he was sometimes sullen and melancholic, and it was impossible to unsettle him.

However, Friedrich was not a purely urban resident. Often he travelled to Saxon Switzerland, to the Baltic or to the Harz. He especially enjoyed going to the island of Rügen. All these places were quite consistent with his melancholy mood and helped to find inspiration.

He painted mostly landscapes, so the nature and the whole setting of these places gave him plenty of food for thought and opportunities for plein air.


Until 1807 Friedrich performed his work in drawing technique, then began writing in oil. He was first brought to the attention of the artist brothers, then he received the recognition of the general public, and later the Prussian king himself.

Now the master could create without thinking of daily bread, and he painted days long. From under his brush came the same contradictory canvases as he was himself: the beauty of nature in his paintings is slightly bleak, sometimes almost apocalyptic. He painted a lot of cemeteries, graves, burials. And if it was seascapes — the colors were still muted, and a sense of nature’s dominance over man was created.

However, Friedrich’s canvases are better looked at to better understand and feel him. Critics wrote that he himself is visible in his paintings.

Personal life

In 1812, the artist had a psychological crisis, and he began to write his darkest paintings. However, in 1818 things changed: he became the husband of Carolina Bommer, a girl of nineteen years from birth. This year he writes like possessed: twenty-eight paintings in twelve months.

From this time begins a more or less stable period in the artist’s life. In 1824 he became a professor at the Dresden Academy of Arts; he had pupils.

Caspar David Friedrich died in 1840, buried in Dresden.

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