The 18th and 19th Centuries


 



(Neoclassicism, Romanticism and Art Styles in 19th century - Art Map)


 



Neoclassicism and Romanticism



 

 



Gustav Carus




see collections:


Caspar David Friedrich



Johan Christian Dahl



Ludwig Adrian Richter



George Stubbs





 

 



Friedrich and the Northern Europeans


In The Sea of Ice, by Caspar David Friedrich, man is absent, devoured by the awe-inspiring and adverse elements: there are no traces of the shipwrecked crew in the icy landscape. Glimpses of small sections of the boat are visible between the slabs of ice, which form a silent pyramid rising up to the sky. It is thought that the sea of ice symbolized the "frozen" political climate and the despondent mood surrounding the struggles for German independence from Napoleon's forces. For Friedrich, nature was like a living, organic creature, untameable and unpredictable. The artist's uncommissioned painting The Cross in the Mountains (1808) caused a sensation when it was first exhibited as an altarpiece in the castle at Tetschen: the crucified Christ was almost lost in his surroundings, which became the symbol of a cosmic, existentialist grief. During the Neoclassical period, such emotion would have been attained through noble and detailed expression, exemplified by the tomb of Maria Cristina of Austria by the sculptor Antonio Canova. For Friedrich, ancient ruins became the symbol of a world of solitude, where mankind's vain and futile enterprises are lost in a bleak, intensely cold and ghostly landscape. The artist's Abbey in the Oakwood shows the remains of human endeavour laid open to the forces of the cosmos. This painting may be interpreted as a parable of the divine, suggesting a promise of eternity. The painter often looked to his religious faith for answers to metaphysical questions. It portrays an uncertain, mysterious universe, the workings of which can be glimpsed, but are never fully revealed and can never be controlled. The grand Romantic work of Johan Christian Dahl (1788-1857) was stylistically-close to that of both Friedrich and the Norwegian landscape painter Gustav Carus (1789-1869). Carus was also a writer, geologist, physiologist, and naturalist. Both men were friends of Friedrich. The portrayals of the Norwegian landscape by these artists pioneered a new spirit of Norwegian nationalism, and work was produced with a definite Nordic identity. The artists aims were similar to those of the Sturm und Drang writers, a proto-Romantic movement that sought to free German arts from French influence.
 

 
 
Carl Gustav Carus

(b Leipzig, 3 Jan 1789; d Dresden, 28 July 1869).

German painter and draughtsman. As well as being an artist, he achieved considerable success as a doctor, a naturalist, a scientist and a psychologist. As an artist, he was concerned almost exclusively with landscape painting, although he never practised it professionally. While still at school in Leipzig, he had drawing lessons from Julius Diez; he subsequently studied under Johann Veit Schnorr von Carolsfeld (1764–1841) at the Oeser drawing academy. From 1813 he taught himself oil painting, copying after the Dresden landscape painter Johann Christian Klengel, whom he visited in his studio. In 1811 after six years at university he graduated as a doctor of medicine and a doctor of philosophy. In 1814 he was appointed professor of obstetrics and director of the maternity clinic at the teaching institution for medicine and surgery in Dresden.

 

 


Gustav Carus
A Gondola on the Elbe near Dresden

1827
Oil on canvas, 29 x 22 cm
Kunstmuseum, Düsseldorf

 

 


Gustav Carus
Oaks at the Sea Shore

1835
Oil on canvas, 117,5 x 162,5 cm
Gemäldegalerie, Dresden

 

 


Gustav Carus
Pilgrim in a Rocky Valley

c. 1820
Oil on canvas, 28 x 22 cm
Nationalgalerie, Berlin

 

 


Gustav Carus
Morning Fog

 

 


Gustav Carus
Blick auf Dresden von der Bruhlschen Terrasse

 

 


Gustav Carus
Das Kolosseum in einer Mondnacht

 

 


Gustav Carus
Fenster am Oybin im Mondschein

 

 


Gustav Carus

View of Dresden at Sunset
1822

 

 


Gustav Carus

A Landscape at Sunset
1830
 

 


Gustav Carus
Wanderer on the Mountaintop

1818
 

 


Gustav Carus
Goethe Monument

 

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CASPAR DAVID FRIEDRICH

Born in Greifswald, a smalt harbour town annexed by Prussia in 1815,
Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840) was the sixth of ten children. His early life was characterized by tragedy: his mother died when he was seven years old; his younger sister died at only 20 months; and his brother was drowned as he tried to save Friedrich's life in a skating accident. The artist studied at the Copenhagen Academy of Art, one of the most important art schools in Europe, before moving to Dresden. Admired by his friend Goethe and the dramatist Heinrich von Kleist, his paintings were purchased by Frederick William III of Prussia, on the advice of the 15-year-old prince who later become Frederick William IV. Tsar Nicholas and the Grand Duke Alexander also bought his works. However, Friedrich died in poverty; he was buried in the Trinity Cemetery at Dresden.

 

 


Caspar David Friedrich
The Sea of Ice
1824
 


Caspar David Friedrich
Abbey in the Oakwood
1809
 

 

 

 

THE WAYFARER

The concept of nature that emerged with the Romantic movement gave rise to the figure of the wayfarer, depicted widely in art as well as literature and music. The wayfarer, or wanderer, was a person who had renounced the comfort and security of a home in order to travel through a mysterious and perhaps hostile world, not knowing whether he would ever return. This theme, illustrated predominantly in German culture, arises from an anthropological concept whereby man no longer finds himself at the centre of events and is unable to control them: indeed, very often the world displays a lack of harmony and order that he cannot comprehend or face up to. Romanticism frequently portrayed nature at its most dramatic: raging tempests, bleak, mountainous landscapes, and forests where one could become forever lost. These landscapes are places of extraordinary bleakness and solitude, where man moves aimlessly and wearily, impelled by an irrational quest for the absolute. Wanderers often peopled the canvases of
Ludwig Adrian Richter (1803-84) and Caspar David Friedrich, who successfully captured the essence of the wayfarer's long and uncertain journey. The Wanderer above the Sea of Fog is one of the most famous paintings of the Romantic movement: it symbolizes solitude, expresses despair, and explores the mystery that engulfs the figure, whose gaze is turned towards the abyss. This canvas represents the experience of human life as the ultimate journey, one that leads towards infinity and death.
 

 


Caspar David Friedrich
The Wanderer above the Sea of Fog
1818
 

 


Ludwig Adrian Richter
Wayfarer Resting in the Mountains
 

 

 

 

THE MYTHOLOGY OF THE NIGHT

In contrast to the Apollonian clarity that dominated the aesthetic ideal of Neoclassicism, the "Romantic night" became a protagonist in its own right for some artists. It was peopled with spectral apparitions, strange, ambiguous creatures, and fantastical figures like those in the paintings of
Henry Fuseli. Night was expressed as the secret moment of human experience, inhabited by the most terrifying psychic forces. The success of the nocturne, which became an elaborate musical form during this period and was favoured by Chopin, was partly responsible for the theme being adopted and explored by visual artists. A night setting greatly-intensified the emotional significance of an ocean horizon, a Gothic ruin gripped by frost, or a forest where trunks and branches became ghostly, distorted patterns. There were clear parallels in the operas of Wagner, which exemplified many of the themes of Romanticism in music. One powerful portrayal of the night was produced by George Stubbs (1724-1806) in Lion Attacking a Horse. The white horse rears in terror as a lion springs onto its back out of the darkness. The contrast between the proud nobility of the domestic animal and the savagery of the wild beast becomes a symbol of the opposing energies that inhabit the human soul and sustain its mystery.
The figures in the canvases of
Caspar David Friedrich, such as those in Moonrise over the Sea, cast their eyes towards a limitless horizon, lit by a pale, distant moon. Their silent contemplation seems dominated by the night. Although these figures are placed at the very edge of the earth and are completely anonymous, the viewer can empathize with them.
 


Caspar David Friedrich
Moonrise over the Sea
1822
Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin

 It is not so much Friedrich s spirit of existentialism as his portrayal of nature as
the protagonist of the piece that was to have such a profound influence on landscape painters in Europe

 

 

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George Stubbs

(Encyclopaedia Britannica)

born Aug. 24, 1724, Liverpool, Eng.
died July 10, 1806, London


outstanding English animal painter and anatomical draftsman.

The son of a prosperous tanner, Stubbs was briefly apprenticed to a painter but was basically self-taught. His interest in anatomy, revealed at an early age, became one of the driving passions of his life. His earliest surviving works are 18 plates etched for Dr. John Burton's Essay Towards a Complete New System of Midwifery (1751). In the 1750s Stubbs made an exhaustive analysis of the anatomy of the horse. He rented a farmhouse in a remote Lincolnshire village, where, over a period of 18 months, he undertook the painstaking dissection of innumerable specimens. After moving permanently to London in 1760, Stubbs etched the plates for Anatomy of the Horse (1766), which became a major work of reference for naturalists and artists alike. Stubbs soon established a reputation as the leading painter of portraits of the horse. His masterly depictions of hunters and racehorses brought him innumerable commissions. Perhaps more impressive than the single portraits are his pictures of informal groups of horses, such as “Mares and Foals in a Landscape” (c. 1760–70; Tate Gallery, London).

Stubbs also painted a wide variety of other animals, including the lion, tiger, giraffe, monkey, and rhinoceros, which he was able to observe in private menageries. According to the artist Ozias Humphrey, Stubbs was so convinced of the importance of observation that he visited Italy in 1754 only to reinforce his belief that nature is superior to art. Among Stubbs's best-known pictures are several depicting a horse being frightened or attacked by a lion (“Horse Frightened by a Lion,” 1770) in which he emphasizes the wild terror of the former and the predatory power of the latter.

Stubbs's historical paintings are among the least successful of his works; much more convincing are his scenes of familiar country activities done in the 1770s. Unfortunately, he tended to execute his paintings in thin oil paint, and relatively few survive in undamaged condition. In later life Stubbs knew considerable hardship. His last years were spent on a final work of anatomical analysis: A Comparative Anatomical Exposition of the Structure of the Human Body, with that of a Tiger and Common Fowl, for which he completed 100 drawings and 18 engravings. The Anatomical Works of George Stubbs was published in 1975.
 

               
 


George Stubbs
A Horse Frightened by a Lion


 

 


George Stubbs
Lion Attacking a Horse

 


George Stubbs
 Lion Devouring a Horse
1763
 


George Stubbs
 Lion Attacking a Horse
1769

 

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Caspar David Friedrich



(Encyclopaedia Britannica)
 

born Sept. 5, 1774, Greifswald, Pomerania [Germany]
died May 7, 1840, Dresden, Saxony


pioneer early 19th-century German Romantic painter. His vast, mysterious landscapes and seascapes proclaimed man's helplessness against the forces of nature and did much to establish the idea of the sublime as central concerns of the Romantic movement.

Friedrich studied from 1794 to 1798 at the academy at Copenhagen but was largely self-taught. Settling at Dresden, he became a member of an artistic and literary circle that included the painter Philipp Otto Runge and the writers Ludwig Tieck and Novalis. His drawings in sepia, executed in his neat early style, won the poet J. W. von Goethe's approval and a prize from the Weimar Art Society in 1805. His first important oil painting, “The Cross in the Mountains” (c. 1807), established his mature style, characterized by an overwhelming sense of isolation, and was an attempt to replace the traditional symbology of religious painting with one drawn from nature. Other symbolic landscapes, such as “Shipwreck in the Ice” (1822), reveal his fatalism and obsession with death. Though based on close observation of nature, his works were coloured by his imaginative response to the atmosphere of the Baltic coast and the Harz Mountains, which he found both awesome and ominous. In 1824 he was made professor of the Dresden academy. For a long time his work was forgotten; but it was revived when the 20th century recognized its own existential isolation in his work.
 

 

ECSTASY AND ESTRANGEMENT

The treatment of time by Romantic artists tended to fall into two categories. Sometimes, it appeared to be compressed by the whirling mass of dramatic events, a portrayal that was particularly common in the works of
Delacroix and Gericault. Elsewhere, however, it appears that time has suddenly ceased to exist, and cannot be perceived or contemplated. At such moments, man finds himself estranged, and the literal meaning of the word "ecstasy" as "outside one's own mind" is applicable. This definition calls to mind Friedrich's portrayal of the human condition, where nature serves as a vast backdrop against which the irreconcilable solitude of humanity is projected. Monk on the Seashore again shows the religious symbolism that is often found in Friedrich's work, while lacking an explicit, specific religion. It also conveys the presence of a mystery before which man no longer has any power: he can contemplate it. but to be able to measure himself against this anonymous force, he must come "out of himself". The word "monk" comes from the Greek for "alone", and we share his powerful sense of loneliness with him. The artist's chosen setting for his painting A Man and a Woman Contemplate the Moon is a German forest, in which there is no visible path for the figures to follow. Among the dark silhouettes of the trees linger two figures who look across the landscape at the moon, which hangs low in the night sky. A symbol of Christ, the moon indicates a hope given to humankind; it is also a sign of the supernatural world in which that hope may be eventually fulfilled.

   


Caspar David Friedrich
A Man and a Woman Contemplate the Moon
1830-35
 


Caspar David Friedrich
Monk on the Seashore
1810


see collections:


Caspar David Friedrich

Johan Christian Dahl

Ludwig Adrian Richter

George Stubbs

 

 

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