Caspar David Friedrich

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Caspar David Friedrich
(1774–1840)

Moonlit Landscape

Watercolor on paper; moon cut out and inserted on a separate piece of paper; laid down on cardboard
9 1/8 x 14 3/8 inches (232 x 365 mm)

Thaw Collection

1996.150
Item description: 

Inspired by his belief that "the divine is everywhere," Friedrich painted landscapes of immersion in nature as a mystical experience. His first requirement of a work of art was that it should engage the mind and put the viewer into a "soulful" mood. This is one of two surviving transparencies by Friedrich. The moon is a translucent insertion made to be lit from behind by pulsing lamplight in a dark and silenced room, perhaps accompanied by music. In an image of pantheistic communion, the illuminated moon radiates a mysterious power touching a hallowed human figure, triangulated by the spectator standing in the viewpoint of the reverent artist.