Paintings You Should Know: Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog (c. 1819)

300px-Caspar_David_Friedrich_-_Wanderer_above_the_sea_of_fog

Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840) was a German Romantic artist. ‘Wanderer’ depicts a lone traveller standing on a precipice looking out over a mysterious landscape of rocks and fog. Who is he? Where has he come from? Where is he going? The fact that this painting so strongly evokes these questions has made it a favourite image for illustrating music and works which touch upon these questions, not only in a literal but also in a spiritual, psychological, or philosophical sense. It is likely that Friedrich, a Romantic, intended it to be interpreted in precisely these symbolic terms.

The landscape is inspired by the landscape of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains in Saxony and Bohemia, but rearranged by the artist for greater effect. ‘Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog’ is painted in oil on canvas and measures 98.4cm by 74.8cm. It is held by the Kuntsthalle Hamburg in Germany.

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Summer Holidays #4: Exploring Auckland Art Gallery

Auckland Art Gallery.pngAlthough I had gone to the Auckland Art Gallery specifically to see the Lindauer portraits it seemed rather a shame to leave without checking out some of the other exhibitions, so we didn’t. In this post I’ll be recording a few brief impressions of the other exhibitions we saw at the Gallery.

After our experience with modern sculpture at Brick Bay, we decided to largely eschew the modern art exhibitions and focus our attention on primarily on art from before the start of the 20th century. Fortunately, the Auckland Art Gallery is large and has numerous exhibitions to choose from. Continue reading “Summer Holidays #4: Exploring Auckland Art Gallery”

A Very Short History of Art: Neoclassicism and Romanticism

1 Jacques Louis David The Oath of the Horatii 1784to5
Jacques-Louis David, The Oath of the Horatii, 1784-85 – one of the earliest Neoclassical paintings.

Both Neoclassicism and Romanticism began as expressions of rejection. Neoclassicism, which emerged in the 1740s, with its clean lines and commitment to an idealised reality, was a rejection of Rococo extravagance and embellishment, which by the 1780s had succeeded in supplanting it. Romanticism, with its love of drama, emotion, and the natural world, was a rejection of the perceived coldness and intellectualism of Neoclassicism, and emerged just as the Rococo was disappearing. Continue reading “A Very Short History of Art: Neoclassicism and Romanticism”