Caspar David Friedrich personified German Romanticism, producing paintings that became icons of the movement. Working in a nation under alien occupation, Friedrich found the intersection between pantheism and the alienation of human beings in a new and modern world. The serene and severe German landscape around Dresden and at the edge of the North Sea create a paradox between tragedy and hope. Through his landscape paintings, Friedrich transformed German Protestant beliefs into a transcendentalism—a worship of nature as God—into a patriotic statement during a period of French occupation. But Friedrich’s art has transcended its original time and place and today his paintings are considered early examples of modern alienation in the face of nature’s sublime.

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