Nature and Caspar David Friedrich’s The Abbey in the Oak Forest

April 1st, 1999

The German Romantic art movement of the late 1700s and early 1800s was one that was obsessed with the relationship between religion and the creative arts. The artists of this period used metaphors and symbols to illustrate the popular feelings of the time, and Caspar David Friedrich was no different. By using nature as the true subject in his painting, The Abbey in the Oak Forest, he was able to portray a certain sense of the spiritual. He used nature as a means of conveying the meaning of life, death and religion. An analysis of this painting, within the context of his beliefs and research, will help us understand the significance of his approach to painting. Although his work can be seen as characteristic of the philosophies held by the people of his day, his use of elements from nature as an expression of the sacred allowed him to succeed in meeting the challenge of integrating art and religion where others failed.

Carrie Fox, ’00 Lowden, IA
Majors: Art, Education

Sponsor: Christina McOmber

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