The style of this painting is instantly recognisable as the work of Friedrich, with a foreground figure superimposed against a stunning landscape scene. This style of composition helps the viewer to feel very much a part of the painting which was one of the strengths of this famous German painter. Landscape scenes of Germany continued throughout his career but not always with a figure in the foreground, despite that though, it remains very much a signature of his career. It is common for artists to become famous for just one artwork, despite having produced so much during their lifetime and Friedrich can be considered inseparable to Wanderer above the Sea of Fog.
In this memorable artwork there is a flurry of mist that drifts across the landscape as the key figure stands tall, looking down on this mountainous setting. He is smartly dressed, suggesting he holds a powerful position but the way in which his back is turned to the viewer, and that we cannot see his face, leaves a mysterious element to this painting. Who is he? What is he doing? The viewer is left to debate what appears before their eyes. We have included a larger image of the painting at the bottom of this page so that you can appreciate even more of the detail added by the artist.
Whilst being a major highlight in the collection of the Kunsthalle Hamburg in Germany, Wanderer above the Sea of Fog stands alongside several highly significant paintings including the likes of Madonna by Edvard Munch, Jacob Restaurant by Max Liebermann,Revolution of the Viaduct by Paul Klee, Phryne before the Areopagus by Jean-Léon Gerome and Nana by Edouard Manet. You will also find contributions from the Old Masters, such as Francisco de Goya, Rembrandt van Rijn, Peter Paul Rubens, Jacob Isaacksz van Ruisdael and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo.