Cretaceous rocks on the island of Rügen by Kaspar-David Friedrich

Cretaceous rocks on the island of Rügen by Kaspar David Friedrich

The figure of the contemplator is a frequent motif of the landscapes of Friedrich. As a rule, he turns his back to the viewer: the artist is interested not in the individual traits of the characters, but in their general enthusiasm for the boundlessness of the world. The space of the painting “The Woman at the Window” is a boring cell of an empty room, the romantic impulse is expressed here in the figure, looking intensively at the window of the heroine. An unnamed dreamer in Frederick’s painting is a peculiar double of the viewer, whom the artist suggests to take his place in thought. Such are the figures in the foreground of the painting “Cretaceous rocks on the island of Rügen”.

The three characters froze in admiration before the blue distance, which he opened in a double frame of green-yellow coastal vegetation and the fancifully broken lines of chalk cliffs. One of the travelers stretched out at the edge of the cliff, in the pose of the praying – he looks into the abyss. The depth of space is emphasized by a sharp transition from a careful and clear first-level painting to distant waves transmitted by juicy, sparse smears. The colors of the sea gradually turn pale, and it merges with the sky. In this cosmic abyss, two sails are whitening – retreating and approaching – as a sign that the element is still tamed by man.

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