Caspar David Friedrich - Wanderer above the Sea of FogOil on canvas, 1818, 98,4 × 74,8 cm, Hamburger Kunsthalle in Hamburg



Description and interpretation of the famous painting 'Wanderer above the Sea of Fog' by Caspar David Friedrich!

Caspar David Friedrich - Wanderer above the Sea of Fog

The road ends here. Like a general sticking a flag into the conquered earth, the man proudly places his foot on the rock. He has supported his hand on his side; the walking staff, which has been a loyal companion to him up to now, rests to his right. In front of the man lies an eventful spectacle of nature.

The fog, which plays around the forms in the bottom of the picture, appears whipped by the wind; only the particularly high rocks protrude from the dense white. In the background you can see soft mountains - also partially covered by the veil of mist. The right rock was identified as the circle stone, which is located in Saxon Switzerland. The group of rocks in the middle represents the Gamrig near Rathen and the rock on which the hiker stands comes from the imperial crown. There is disagreement about the others. Friedrich combined the various elements into an overall composition.

The hiker can be seen from behind and has no identity of his own. As is so often the case with Friedrich, this figure invites the viewer to look through his eyes, he serves as an identification figure. And yet this painting is particularly remarkable, for the man does not subordinate himself to nature here; he does not step aside to make room for us to observe the spectacle of nature. No, he stands upright in the middle of the picture and even takes our view a little bit.

On the left the sun is in the sky and above slowly clouds pass by. The man stands like a motionless statue between the spheres - and in a figurative sense as well. The sun can be interpreted as rising hope, the fog as an opaqueness of fate and as uncertainty of the coming. He links the real and the mental world.

At the top of the summit, which protrudes into the picture as a triangular composition, the hiker has a little distance to the action. And through his eyes we also get an idea of the eternal cycle of nature.

© the artinspector / alexandra tuschka