If there has been a painter throughout the history of art who has known how to give a new dimension to landscape, it has been, without a doubt, Caspar Friedrich. The romantic aesthetic in general appears as a reaction to neoclassical painting marked by rigid academic canons in which the artist has very little creative margin, or so the romantic painters understood it; in this sense, the followers of this new artistic trend ended up seeking refuge in past times or in the charm of the natural world to escape from a jaded life in which, in theory, any past time was better.
However, Friedrich's painting goes far beyond the escape itself, rather in his works it is appreciated, what we can call a religious landscaping, that is, a work in which the landscape predominates but in in which a religious element is appreciated so that nature can be understood as a means of divine expression or even as the way to reach God. In addition, the artist brings the viewer closer to meditation on his canvas.
On this occasion we will analyze an oil on canvas of vertical format and small dimensions that the artist made around the year 1811 and which is en titled Winter Landscape. The work that is currently on display at the British Museum in London forms part of a cycle of pieces that the author produced in those same months together with canvases such as Landscape ofwinter.
Actually, the author follows the same concept that he had already used in previous paintings such as in the well-known Tetschen Altar: in a winter landscape -the author considered this to be the most propitious season for meditation- religious symbols arise that help the viewer meditate so that nature becomes a link between man and God.
On this occasion the artist places in a snowy meadow a couple of green and leafy pines next to some rocks, in them an invalid man takes shelter to pray to a wooden crucifix while his crutches rest forgotten in the snow. In the background, through the mist you can see the silhouette of a Gothic cathedral as if it were a ghost alluding to the passage of time and the perishability of our existence.