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Friedrich image

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, [circa 1830]
9 1/8 x 14 3/8 inches (232 x 365 mm)
Thaw Collection; 1996.150
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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.

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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.