Caspar David Friedrich: Nature and the Self
Yale University Press
Classifying Caspar David Friedrich’s oeuvre and paintings as “atmospheric” would be an understatement par excellence. The way CDF channelled his alchemy and the intricacy with which he outlined figures lost on musings on the need to be and contemplation is unrivalled and it is not further wondrous that he became a luminary and the spearhead of the Romantic philosophical era, specifically in Germany, which epitomized its approach to nature and our interconnectedness in a holistic way.
There is a myriad of books on Caspar David Friedrich and how his paintings helped beholders to come to conclusions about nature and their part in it. What Nature and the Self accomplishes, however, is revealing how especially his less known later works depicting stones and trees relate to philosophical ideas in the most subtle of manners, while not leaving out his iconographic widely popular artworks incorporating human figures.
Nina Amstutz’ approach to Caspar David Friedrich is informed by a multifaceted analysis that starts with what is apparent face-value and then deep drives to touch on influences that are not necessarily part of the mainstream recipient’s outlook. What this results in is a unique intersection of nature, ego, the school of life with all its respective sciences and how it all adds to a melange that in equal parts simmers down discussions around biological, anatomical, morphological findings to their very essence.
By doing that, Nina Amstutz and her Nature and the Self triggers a new discussion around Caspar David Friedrich’s work and how it played an important role in the canon of nature, art and its interconnectedness in the nineteenth century.
An essential addition for anyone remotely intrigued by CDF.