Friday, August 3, 2012

The Art of Casper David Friedrich

 'The Oak Tree in the Snow' by Casper David Friedrich

The detailed and complex structure contrasts with the limited color palette. There is a sharp contrast between the light and dark. I question why he chose to paint this tree above all others? Its structure seems almost inverted because at the base it is thick with branches, where as the top of the tree appears to be severed and damaged. Does it hint of an emotional upheaval? Friedrich talked of painting what is within, therefore he recognizes that this piece reflects parts of his personality.
 "The artist should paint not only what he sees before him, but also what he sees within him. If, however, he sees nothing within him, then he should also refrain from painting that which he sees before him. Otherwise, his pictures will be like those folding screens behind which one expects to find only the sick or the dead."-Casper David Friedrich
This tree stands in isolation. It would be a cold journey before you could touch its branches. The location is uninviting and yet the sky is beautiful. The blue creates a calm environment, pleasant yet unapproachable. Is this what was within him? I look at the image and I marvel at its brilliance, even though it talks of sadness and isolation. It is such a detailed image, where he has spent hours capturing this emotion. Part of me wants to travel through the snow and spend time within his world. Although, I know that the cold would eventually be too much and I would need to walk away.