Caspar David Friedrich - Rewald, Sabine; Monrad, Kasper - Yale University Press
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Published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art/Distributed by Yale University Press
Caspar David Friedrich
Sabine Rewald; With a contribution by Kasper Monrad
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Caspar David Friedrich: Moonwatchers celebrates the acquisition by the Metropolitan Museum of its first painting by the German Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840). Two Men Contemplating the Moon (ca. 1830), purchased with funds provided by Mrs. Jayne Wrightsman, is one of three variations that Friedrich made on one of his most recognizable and characteristic motifs. So that the subtle differences among the three canvases might be studied in situ, Gary Tinterow, then-Engelhard Curator of Nineteenth-Century European Paintings, had the felicitous idea of uniting all three versions (the other two in Dresden and Berlin) for the first time. The resultant "dossier" exhibition and publication feature additional works by Friedrich himself, as well as some by his Dresden friends, among them Carl Gustav Carus, Johan Christian Dahl, Christian Friedrich Gille, and August Heinrich. The criterion for inclusion of the other artists' work alongside Friedrich's famous trio of "moonwatchers" was that they depict the moon although concessions have been made for a few setting suns. These tributes to the moon were part of a phenomenon that Sabine Rewald describes in her essay as a "lunar period" in German poetry, literature, and philosophy. She finds that the symbolic trajectory of the moon from early to late Romanticism—from emblem of forlorn yearning to pleasing source of serenity to mere astronomical fact, drained of emotion is reflected in no less an oeuvre than Goethe's. Kaspar Monrad explores Friedrich's motif of two men gazing at the moon, positing it was inspired by Danish author and critic and friend of the artist, Peter Hjort (1793-1871). Following the essays are extended catalogue entries with color illustrations of the works in the exhibition, and a selected bibliography. [This book was originally published in 2001 and has gone out of print. This edition is a print-on-demand version of the original book.]
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