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Caspar David Friedrich held a strong character but wished most just to concentrate on his art, rather than conversing with or about other artists. This selection of Friedrich quotes help us to learn more about his mindset and have been extracted from the full span of his lifetime.
Famous Quotes by Caspar David Friedrich
All authentic art is conceived at a sacred moment and nourished in a blessed hour; an inner impulse creates it, often without the artist being aware of it.
A painting which does not take its inspiration from the heart is nothing more than futile juggling.
Close your bodily eye, that you may see your picture first with the eye of the spirit. Then bring to light what you have seen in the darkness, that its effect may work back, from without to within.
Every true work of art must express a distinct feeling.
God is everywhere, in the smallest grain of sand.
I am not so weak as to submit to the demands of the age when they go against my convictions. I spin a cocoon around myself; let others do the same. I shall leave it to time to show what will come of it: a brilliant butterfly or maggot.
If he sees nothing within, then he should stop painting what is in front of him.
I have to stay alone in order to fully contemplate and feel nature.
I must stay alone and know that I am alone to contemplate and feel nature in full; I have to surrender myself to what encircles me, I have to merge with my clouds and rocks in order to be what I am.
Just as the pious man prays without speaking a word and the Almighty hearkens unto him, so the artist with true feelings paints and the sensitive man understands and recognizes it.
The artist should paint not only what he sees before him, but also what he sees within him. If, however, he sees nothing within him, then he should also refrain from painting that which he sees before him. Otherwise, his pictures will be like those folding screens behind which one expects to find only the sick or the dead.
The divine is everywhere, even in a grain of sand; there I represented it in the reeds.
The eye and fantasy feel more attracted by nebulous distance than by that which is close and distinct in front of us.
The feelings of another person should never be imposed upon us as a law.
The painter should paint not only what he has in front of him, but also what he sees inside himself. If he sees nothing within, then he should stop painting what is in front of him.
The pure, frank sentiments we hold in our hearts are the only truthful sources of art.
What the newer landscape artists see in a circle of a hundred degrees in Nature they press together unmercifully into an angle of vision of only forty-five degrees. And furthermore, what is in Nature separated by large spaces, is compressed into a cramped space and overfills and oversatiates the eye, creating an unfavorable and disquieting effect on the viewer.
When a scene is shrouded in mist, it seems greater, nobler, and heightens the viewers' imaginative powers, increasing expectation - like a veiled girl. Generally the eye and the imagination are more readily drawn by nebulous distance than by what is perfectly plain for all to see.
Why, it has often occurred to me to ask myself, do I so frequently choose death, transience, and the grave as subjects for my paintings? One must submit oneself many times to death in order some day to attain life everlasting.
You call me a misanthrope because I avoid society. You err; I love society. Yet in order not to hate people, I must avoid their company.
Quotes about Caspar David Friedrich by Art Historians and Fellow Artists
We urge the artist [Friedrich] to undertake serious study of antiquity and of nature as the ancients saw it.Philipp Otto Runge
Here is coldness, impetuousness, dying, and despair.Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
The works of Friedrich differ greatly from those of other landscape painters in their motifs. The air - even though he paints it masterfully - takes up more than half of the space in most of his compositions. Middle- and background are often missing because his motifs don't require them. He likes to paint unfathomable plains. He is faithful to nature even in the smallest details and he has mastered his technique - in his oil paintings and sepia drawings - to perfection. His landscapes contain a melancholy, mysteriously religious meaning. They affect the heart more than the eye.Johanna Schopenhauer
Artists and connoisseurs saw in Friedrich's art only a kind of mystic, because they themselves were only looking out for the mystic... ...They did not see Friedrich's faithful and conscientious study of nature in everything he represented.Johann Christian Dahl