The Wanderer above the Sea of Fog (German: Der Wandererüberdem Nebelmeer) was an oil painting, painted in 1818 by the German Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich. It is considered one of the masterpieces of Romanticism and one of the most representative works. Currently, it is in the collection of the Hamburg Art Museum, Germany.
In the foreground, a young man stands on a rocky cliff with his back to the audience. He was wearing a dark green coat and held a cane in his right hand. His hair was tousled by the wind, and the wanderer stared out at the fog-shrouded landscape. On the ground in the middle, there are several other ridges, perhaps not dissimilar to the one on which the Wanderer himself stood, jutting out from the top of the mountain. Through the clouds, the trees can be seen from the cliff. In the distance, faded mountains rise on the left and taper into a lowland plain on the right. Beyond that, the pervasive fog stretches out indefinitely, eventually merging with the horizon and becoming indistinguishable from the cloudy sky.
The romanticism exuded by the work is precisely that of Friedrich, similar to other works such as "The Chalk Rocks on the Island of Rügen" and "Sea of Ice". Analysis believes that the message conveyed by this painting is one of Kantian self-reflection, expressed through the hazy gaze of the wanderer staring at the sea of fog. Some critics have expressed sympathy, arguing that the Wanderers provide a metaphor for an unknown future. The wanderer's position on top of the cliff and its distorted appearance left previous impressions "contradictory, suggesting mastery over the landscape and the insignificance of the individuals within it".
By composing the figures' backs towards the viewer, the viewer can gain insight into Friedrich's experience. Friedrich himself expressed his thoughts on this: "The artist should paint not only what is in front of him, but also what he sees in his heart.
Some of the meaning of the work is lost in the translation of its title. In German, the title is "Der Wandererüberdem Nebelmeer". Wanderer in German can mean "wanderer" or "hiker".
Robert Macfarlane discusses the painting's significant influence on Western views of mountaineering since the Romantics, calling it "the quintessential image of a mountaineering visionary" and describing how the concept it represents. strength. Standing on top of a mountain is an admirable thing, an idea that hardly existed in the early centuries.
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