Rainbows in a Mountain Landscape, Friedrich

Rainbows in a Mountain Landscape, Friedrich
Rainbows in a Mountain Landscape, Friedrich

It was the painters of the romantic aesthetic developed in the last years of the 18th century who chose to give art a revolutionary role, fighting against the stereotypes imposed by realistic aesthetics and the rationalist norms that emerged in the Enlightenment period. For the romantic painters, without a doubt, man is just one more inhabitant of the universe, small and insignificant in the face of the greatness that surrounds us but, at the same time, with the greatest aspirations. In this sense, the painter Gaspar Friedrich will be one of the most prominent representatives of the new romantic aesthetic.


Caspar David Friedrich (1774 – 1840) is one of the most outstanding German painters of all time, in his oil paintings the scenes of natural landscapes with small characters that show the smallness of man in the world are famous that surrounds it. Born in the small town of Greifswald, his beginnings in the pictorial field were at the hands of a local painter, although he later moved to Copenhagen to train at the Academy of Fine Arts. Finally, the artist settled in the city of Dresden from where he developed most of his artistic activity.

During the first years of the 19th century, specifically between 1808 and 1810, the artist made some trips to the northern region of La Bohemia. As a result of these trips, the artist made a series ofamong which we can highlight this one titled by the artist as Rainbow in a mountain landscape.

This is an oil painting on canvas in a horizontal format that measures just over a meter wide and about seventy centimeters high. In the work we find ourselves again before one of the typical landscape scenes of Friedrich in which the natural component overwhelms the small characters who often even go unnoticed.

On this occasion we find a dichotomy between two different areas of the canvas: on the one hand, in the foreground we find the figure of a man, in this case it is a representation of the artist himself who appears dressed in striking white pants and a red jacket. His urban clothing contrasts clearly with the natural environment in which the scene takes place. In addition, the striking colors of his clothing contrast with the darkness that prevails in the rest of the canvas. The painter appears leaning on a rock looking towards a kind of dark ravine in which emptiness reigns.

In the middle of this natural abyss rises a high peak, the Rosenberg, a symbol of union between man and divinity. But perhaps it is the sky in the composition that catches our attention the most, it is a night scene with large clouds that only allow us to intuit the light of the moon and yet the upper zone appears furrowed by a wide rainbow; an unreal fact since this phenomenon cannot take place with the light of the moon and that theartist incorporated once the canvas was finished.

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