FRIEDRICH, Caspar David
German painter (b. 1774, Greifswald, d. 1840, Dresden)
Oak in the Snow
Oil on canvas, 44 x 34,5 cm
While the majority of German artists lived in Rome, particularly in the early nineteenth century, or undertook extended visits to Italy, a few still managed to resist the pull of the South. One of these was Caspar David Friedrich, who studied in northern Germany and Denmark, and then, apart from a few trips within Germany and Bohemia, chose to settle in Dresden and never left it. Friedrich dedicated himself almost exclusively to painting landscapes, but his main objective was not the depiction of natural phenomena. The exact observation of nature was merely the basis for his symbolic content, which used the medium of landscape to contemplate the human condition and man’s relationship with nature and with God. Friedrich’s small painting, Oak in the snow, is based on accurate observation, and yet the image of the gnarled oak tree also has symbolic significance.