Caspar David Friedrich and the Subject of Landscape

Second Edition

Joseph Leo Koerner

Caspar David Friedrich and the Subject of Landscape

Joseph Leo Koerner

Distributed for Reaktion Books

328 pages | 79 color plates, 71 halftones | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 1990, 2009
Paper $27.00 ISBN: 9781861894397 Published November 2009 For sale in North and South America only
E-book $27.00 ISBN: 9781861897503 Published November 2009

Caspar David Friedrich (1774–1840) is heralded as the greatest painter of the Romantic movement in Germany, and Europe’s first truly modern artist. His mysterious and melancholy landscapes, often peopled with lonely wanderers, are experiments in a radically subjective artistic perspective—one in which, as Freidrich wrote, the painter depicts not “what he sees before him, but what he sees within him.” This vulnerability of the individual when confronted with nature became one of the key tenets of the Romantic aesthetic.

            Now available in a compact, accessible format, this beautifully illustrated book is the most comprehensive account ever published in English of one of the most fascinating and influential nineteenth-century painters.

            “This is a model of interpretative art history, taking in a good deal of German Romantic philosophy, but founded always on the immediate experience of the picture. . . . It is rare to find a scholar so obviously in sympathy with his subject.”—Independent



Romanticizing the World

1 From the Dresden Heath

2 The Subject of Landscape

3 Romanticism


Art as Religion

4 The Non-Contemporaneity of the Contemporary

5 Sentimentalism

6 Friedrich’s System

7 Symbol and Allegory

8 The End of Iconography


The Halted Traveller

9 Entering the Wood

10 Theomimesis

11 Reflection

12 Déjà vu



Sources and Bibliography

List of Illustrations


Review Quotes
The Burlington Magazine

"Provides insights not only into the nature of Friedrich’s art, but also into the whole predicament of art in the early nineteenth century . . . It is a book that should be read by all who have an interest in the art of the period."--The Burlington Magazine

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