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Chalk Cliffs on Rügen
Oil on canvas, 90,5 x 71 cm
Oskar Reinhart Collection, Winterthur
The painting was painted in recollection of the artist’s honeymoon.
Caspar David Friedrich (5 September 1774 – 7 May 1840)
One of the unexpectedly important things that art can do for us is teach us how to suffer. It can do so by evoking scenes that are dark, melancholy or painful, and that normalise and lend dignity to the suffering we may ourselves be experiencing in isolation and confusion. They reveal – with grandeur and technical skill – that grief belongs to the human condition.
Caspar David Friedrich, a painter of sublime sadness, was born in 1774 in Greifswald, an ancient trading town in the far north of Germany, on the Baltic coast. It was a beautiful place in a severe, northern sort of way. As a child he loved the way the pinnacles, spires and towers of the town loomed up above the trees in the haze of very early summer mornings.