Tetschen Altar or Cross in the Mountains (1807-08) by Caspar David Friedrich

Tetschen Altar or Cross in the Mountains - Caspar David Friedrich - 1807-08

Artwork Information

TitleTetschen Altar or Cross in the Mountains
ArtistCaspar David Friedrich
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions115 x 110 cm (without frame)

About Tetschen Altar or Cross in the Mountains

Tetschen Altar or Cross in the Mountains, painted by Caspar David Friedrich between 1807-08, is an oil painting designed to serve as the centerpiece of an altar. This masterpiece marked a significant break with conventional landscape painting by including Christian iconography as the central subject. Friedrich wanted to convey a message through his portrayal of nature and religious symbols.

The painting features a pine-covered mountaintop upon which stands a large crucifix. The cloud-filled sky fades from dark to light from top to bottom in shades of red, pink and violet, adding contrast to the scene. The frame was made by Friedrich himself and signals his dedication to every aspect of his art.

The Tetschen Altar triggered multiple discussions and led to a dispute with Friedrich Wilhelm B. von Rahmdor regarding its artistic value at that time. Despite this, it became both the first masterpiece of one of the greatest Romantic landscape painters and also served as a manifesto for the art of landscape itself.

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