Caspar David Friedrich – 250 Jahre Jubiläum

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Short biography


Caspar David Friedrich is born on 5 September in Greifswald as the sixth of ten children tosoap and candlemaker Adolf Gottlieb Friedrich and his wife Sophie Dorothea.

Taufbuch St. Nikolai Kirche Greifswald

Friedrichs baptism record still exists today and will be on display in 2024.

Photo: © Ralph Eckardt


His brother Johann Christoffer drowns attempting to rescue Caspar David after he falls through the ice while ice skating.

1788 – 1794

Art lessons with Johann Gottfried Quistorp, master builder and teacher of academic art at the
University of Greifswald.

1794 – 1798

Study at the Royal Danish Academy of Arts in Copenhagen, one of the most advanced
academies in Europe at the time.


Move to Dresden

1802/ 1806

2nd and 3rd journey to Rügen


At Christmas, Friedrich presents his first oil painting Cross in the Mountains (also known as
Tetschen Altar; Galerie Neuer Meister, Dresden). It meets with both enthusiastic acclaim and
decisive objection.


In April, Friedrich travels to Neubrandenburg and stays in his home city of Greifswald over
the following months. His father Adolf Gottlieb dies on 6 November.


In July, Friedrich hikes through the Giant Mountains with a fellow painter from Mecklenburg.

In autumn, he presents both his paintings The Monk by the Sea (1808/10, Alte
Nationalgalerie, Berlin) and The Abbey in the Oakwood (1809/10, Alte Nationalgalerie,
Berlin) at the Berlin academy exhibition. The works are bought by the Prussian Crown


In mid-July Friedrich travels to Pomerania and stays on the island of Rügen until mid-August.

In September he is in Greifswald and visits St. Mary’s Church to present his designs for the
altar construction. The city council rejects Friedrich’s designs.


Friedrich becomes a member of the Dresden Royal Academy of Arts and from then on
receives a fixed salary.

1817 - 1818

Friedrich presents the city of Stralsund with his designs for the interior of St. Mary’s Church in Stralsund, but these are rejected by the city council. On 21 January 1818 he marries Caroline Bommer, barely 20 years old, from Dresden. She appears in many of his paintings
as a Rückenfigur.

In June he and his wife travel to Greifswald, Wolgast, Stralsund and to the island of Rügen.

Caspar David Friedrich Zentrum

The Caspar David Friedrich Centre gives exciting insights into the painter’s life.

Photo: © Ralph Eckardt


Friedrich’s daughter Emma is born on 30 August.


Johann Christian Dahl, a lifelong friend of Friedrich, rents an apartment in the same house as Friedrich (An der Elbe 33). On 2 September Friedrich‘s second daughter Agnes Adelheid is born.


Friedrich is appointed professor at the Dresden Royal Academy of Arts yet is not entrusted with the vacant position of head of the landscape painting class.

On 23 December Friedrich becomes father to a son, who he names Gustav Adolf after the Swedish King.


On 22 May Friedrich travels to the island of Rügen for a convalescent holiday. It will be his last visit to his home city.


Friedrich suffers a stroke on 26 June, which leads to paralysis of the right hand. Friedrich returns to work, but using oils is very difficult. He prefers watercolours and sepia techniques.


After the second stroke, Friedrich is almost completely paralysed. He completely gives up his artistic work.


On 7 May he dies in Dresden and is buried on 10 May at the Trinitatis cemetery in Dresden-Johannstadt.

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