Caspar David Friedrich (1774 - 1840) was a German landscape painter in the 19th century whose art has come to symbolize many of the attributes of the Romantic Movement. His symbolic landscapes reflect his feelings about man's relationship with nature, life cycles, as well as his own personal spiritual experiences with life. Our set of Caspar David Friedrich patterns includes many that contain the allegorical symbols used in his Romantic visions: sun and moon, mountains, rivers, icy seas, trees, ravines, fog, snow, clouds, churches and crosses, graveyards, and various animals (swans, ravens). We've include many of his most recognized works including Swans in the Reeds, The Cross in the Mountains, The Tree of Crows, On the Sailboat, Chalk Cliffs on Rügen, The Life Stages, and In Memory of the Riesengebirge.

Patterns Included In This Set:


Woman in Front of the Setting Sun

The Cross in the Mountains

Man and Woman Contemplating the Moon


The Abbey in the Oakwood

Old Heroes' Graves

Chalk Cliffs on Rügen


Self Portrait

The Wanderer above the Sea of Fog

The Sea of Ice


A Ship in the Ice Sea

Covered Hut

Forest in Late Autumn


Woman at the Window

Landscape with Solitary Tree

The Cross on the Baltic Sea



In Memory of the Riesengebirge

The Tree of Crows


The Watzmann

At the City Wall

The Life Stages


Winter Landscape with Church

On the Sailing Boat

Drifting Clouds


Fog in the Elbe Valley

Rocky Ravine

Evening (clouds)


Rocky Reef on the Sea Shore

Graveyard under Snow

Oak in the Snow


Sunrise near Neubrandenburg

The Risengebirge

Swans in the Reeds


The Dreamer

Owl in a Gothic Window

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Caspar David Friedrich (September 5, 1744 – May 7, 1840) was one of the greatest 19th century German Romantic painters. He is considered to be one of the most important proponents of the landscape as an allegory to express the spiritual plane and his haunting works directly influenced the Expressionist and Surrealist schools.

Friedrich was born in Griefswald, a town on the Baltic Sea in Pomerania, northern Germany, an area which at the time was part of Sweden. He was the sixth of ten children and was brought up a strict Lutheran by his father, who had a successful candle making business. Tragedy repeatedly struck the Friedrich family while Caspar David was still very young and these events are thought to have formed the painter’s artistic vision. His mother died when he was seven years old, and when he was thirteen, one of his brothers drowned when he fell through ice on a frozen lake. He also lost two sisters: one sister died when he was 32 years old and a second died of typhus when he was 48.

Little is known about Friedrich’s early desire to study painting or what drove him to take up art lessons at the age of 16, but in 1790 Friedrich studied art at the University of Griefswald as part of a course of studies that included literature and aesthetics. His professor, who was influenced by contemporary British thought at a time when European society was turning towards spiritualism, taught him about the “inner eye”, considered to be the eye of the soul, and the “physical eye”, which sees the world in its physical, as opposed to its spiritual form. In 1794 he entered the prestigious Copenhagen Academy where he studied art until 1798.

In 1798 Caspar David Friedrich went to live in Dresden where he quickly joined a circle of writers and painters who were leading proponents of the Romantic ideal. He produced lovely sepia drawings and watercolors of the barren Baltic landscapes, rocky beaches and massive mountain ranges. In fact, Friedrich produced only drawings until he was 34 years old when he produced his first major oil painting, The Cross in the Mountains. It was produced as an altarpiece and, although considered controversial, it gained much approval. The painting, which depicts Christ on the cross, shows the crucified Saviour at the top of a mountain, alone in a vast landscape, the elongated cross reaching for the sky. This was the first time in Christian art that a pure landscape had been produced as an altarpiece. The painting sparked much heated public discussion, with the artist’s friends coming to his defense and Friedrich producing, in 1809, a written commentary on the work that explained his personal interpretation.

It is no coincidence that one of Caspar David Friedrich’s closest friends was the poet and writer Goethe; Friedrich captured Goethe’s Gothic vision in his paintings, which often feature stormy skies, forests, misty mornings and ruined cathedrals. The cold colors, use of sharp light and contours increase the sense of isolation and powerlessness of the human condition. When people do appear in his paintings, they seem to be engaged in a timeless contemplation of the mystery of life, much like the artist himself.

Friedrich did obtain recognition during his lifetime. In 1810, following the purchase of two of his works by the Crown Prince of Prussia, the artist was elected to the Berlin Academy and in 1816 he joined the Dresden Academy. His work also found favor with the Russian aristocracy and among his Russian patrons were a Grand Duke and Vasily Zhukovsky, tutor to the young Czarevitch, Alexander II.

Tragedy struck once again in 1835: Caspar David Friedrich suffered a debilitating stroke that affected his ability to paint. Symbols of death, such as oversized owls, graves and the full moon, started to appear in his work. By 1838 his situation had deteriorated to the point where he was almost incapable of producing any work and, as a result, was thrown into poverty, depending on the charity of his friends. Additionally, Germany was entering the industrial age and Friedrich’s mystical paintings were now viewed as remnants of a pre-industrialized past.

Caspar David Friedrich died in 1840. After his death his work fell into oblivion until it was rediscovered early in the 20th century and subsequently influenced some of the major movements of 20th Century art.

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