Caspar David Friedrich was a renowned German Romantic landscape painter in the 19th century, with “Cloister Cemetery in the Snow” being one of his most important works. Painted between 1817-19, it measured 170 x 121 cm and was an oil on canvas. Friedrich’s art is characterized by cryptic and eerie landscapes with religious interpretations.
The painting disappeared during WWII in 1945 and was destroyed, diminishing the world of art forever. It has become an icon for what has been lost due to war. Although we have only few records of its existence today, its power comes from its unique combination of natural landscapes with human-made structures—a hallmark of Friedrich’s paintings.
Friedrich is a godfather figure to contemporary artists who create dark imagery that hints at our struggle as humans against nature or technology. He painted mainly landscapes and seascapes—some with figures—and a few religious subjects. The way he interacted with nature is still studied today by artists across different mediums and forms who strive to capture the same potency that he did in his artwork.