Art e Dossier


Art History

David Friedrich Caspar : biography

Caspar David Friedrich was born on 5 September 1774 at Greifswald, near Rostock, in what was then Swabia-Pomerania. He was the sixth of ten children of Gottlieb Adolf Friedrich, a soap manufacturer, and Sophie Dorothea Friedrich. His mother died when he was five and the children were raised by the nanny “Mutter” Heiden. Casper learned to draw from Johann Gottfried Quistorp at the University of Greifswald. While still very young he lost a brother and two sisters: they drowned while they were trying to save him. From 1794 to 1798 he studied at the academy in Copenhagen. Then he moved to Dresden that was to be his home for the rest of his life. He drew portraits, ships and boats, plants, rocks and trees. His trip to the island of Rügen, in the Baltic Sea, led to his first landscapes and there he met the other great German romantic painter Philipp Otto Runge (1777-1810). Caspar specialized in sepia drawings and for two of them won the famous Weimar award that was presented to him by Johann Wolfgang Goethe. The crown prince of Prussia purchased some of his works and at the peak of his career he began painting what he called “little prayers in the woods”. After Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo and the post-Congress of Vienna political arrangements, Prussia became Friedrich’s home. In 1816 he was elected to the Dresden Academy, but did not, to his great disappointment, receive a professorship. In 1818 he married Caroline Bommer with whom he had two daughters and a son. In 1836 he suffered a stroke and died on 7 May of that same year in Dresden.

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