For a long time Friedrich was considered a very morose, painful artist. In part this was due to his closed nature, an ascetic way of life. But most of all, Friedrich deserved this reputation with his paintings, many of which are really devoted to the theme of a rather gloomy death. In his entire life, he wrote a huge number of graves – from modern Christian burials and to ancient pagan dolmens. Sometimes Friedrich performed similar paintings to order. In these cases, the center of the composition, he almost always made the graveyard gate – a symbolic barrier separating the world of the living from the
Such a gate, for example, can be found on its unfinished canvas “Cemetery”, 1821. Here the “other world”, the cemetery world is a beautiful landscape, flooded with a soft, unearthly light, promising eternal peace. Often Frederick contrasts on his canvases a gloomy, heavy “earthly” world to the heavenly world, represented by a brightly lit landscape that can be seen on the horizon. In the later works of Friedrich dedicated to this topic, an owl appears – a symbol of night darkness and death. This image, for example, is present in one of the artist’s latest works – “The Owl on the Grave”.