One of the greatest contributions of Romantic painting was to bring emotion to landscapes, and Caspar David Friedrich did that better than any other German painter of the 19th century.
Caspar David Friedrich, Moonrise over the Sea, 1822, Old National Gallery, Berlin
In Friedrich’s paintings, the contemplation of nature leads to intense feelings that cover a wide range of experiences. From the gloom of melancholy:
Caspar David Friedrich, Abbey among Oak Trees, c.1810, Old National Gallery, Berlin
To the excitement and awe that sublime landscapes can generate:
Caspar David Friedrich, The Wanderer above the Sea of Fog, 1818, Kunsthalle, Hamburg
Caspar David Friedrich, Woman before the Rising Sun, c.1818, Museum Folkwang, Essen
Caspar David Friedrich, The Sea of Ice / The Wreck of Hope, c.1823, Kunsthalle, Hamburg
But he was also a master of the softer, more introspective mood:
Caspar David Friedrich, Moonrise by the Sea, c.1821, Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg
Caspar David Friedrich, A Walk at Dusk, 1830-35, Getty Center, Los Angeles
Friedrich’s reputation has had major ups and downs, but he is now often seen as the most important painter of German Romanticism, the one who best captured the range of emotions that the sublimity of nature makes us feel.