Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840), the greatest painter of the Romantic movement in Germany, was perhaps Europe’s first truly modern artist. His melancholy landscapes, often peopled by lonely wanderers, represent experiments towards a radically subjective art, one in which, as Friedrich wrote, the painter depicts not ‘what he sees before him, but what he sees within him.’ Yet in their awesome power to capture the individuality of visible forms Friedrich’s pictures also accept and express the irredeemable otherness of Nature.
Winner of the 1992 Mitchell Prize for the History of Art, this compelling and highly original book is now made available in a compact pocket format. Beautifully illustrated, Caspar David Friedrich and the Subject of Landscape is the most comprehensive account ever published in English on this most fascinating of nineteenth-century masters.
‘There’s a haunting coda to Koerner’s scholarly analysis of the paintings of Caspar David Friedrich, and his place in art history . . . This has many reproductions more true to Friedrich’s winter colouring than I’ve seen before.’ – The Guardian
‘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.’ – Burlington Magazine
‘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.’ – The Independent
‘This masterly book on what must be one of the most clear and deliberate - and thus most intelligible - bodies of work to have been produced ... is impressively contextual, as well as being minutely forensic . . . Koerner uses the pictures to think about subjectivity and the self in a very twentieth-century way.’ – TLS
‘One of the best books about the work of a single artist that I have read for a long, long time. It seems to me to have everything.’ – Frank Whitford, Kaleidoscope, BBC Radio 4
Joseph Leo Koerner is Victor S. Thomas Professor of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University. His books include The Moment of Self-Portraiture in German Renaissance Art (1993) and Reformation of the Image (Reaktion, 2004).