Caspar David Friedrich, 1774-1840
Oil on canvas; 71 x 56 cm
Of the nine works by Friedrich in the Hermitage, this canvas is rare in showing a representation of real events. It was executed just after the artist's honeymoon, a journey round Germany. It is thought that the figures in the boat are Friedrich and his wife Caroline. Captivated by the vast infinity of nature and man's spiritual world, the artist employs special devices to reflect it in his works; here he produces a composition unusual in the early 19th century -- the edge of the canvas cuts sharply across the deck. Thus the spectator is drawn into the picture space and can sense the atmosphere and share the emotions and thoughts of the figures.