My Favorite Painting

For those who have read my about/bio and never had the chance to google it, this is my favorite painting. Wanderer above the Sea of Fog, by German painter Caspar David Friedrich. Composed in 1818, it currently resides in the Kunsthalle Hamburg in Hamburg, Germany.

Much like all other of the more “human” feelings, I don’t know why I like this painting as much as I do. I’m more a fan of post-impressionism and everything that follows after it, but this is a great painting and it has this soothing feeling attached to it. At the same time it exhales a sense of complete hopelessness – no matter what you do, life is full of mysteries. Or at least that’s how I see this painting: as a metaphor for life and all of man’s complicated pursuits.

So you don’t say this post was utterly useless, here’s a nice video with a pretty good advice by John Irving.

Now it’s time to do some writing. Fiction writing, that is.

13 thoughts on “My Favorite Painting

  1. I love the painting as well. Why? Perhaps it’s the German idealist concept that we are in the world and depend on the world for our existence but that we also “know” the world and because we are the only “knowing” creatures we actually breathe existence back into the world itself. We would not exist without the world and the world would not exist without us.


    • Without a conscience to notice the world, the world does not exist. Interesting view. I’ve never thought about it in that way, but now as I look at the painting itself, I kind of tend to agree with you. Then again, everyone’s free to interpret any work of art in any way he desires.


      • Quite often this thought passes through my mind when I am by myself in the bush (never at any other time); that nature kind of appreciates having a human consciousness being aware of it.


  2. It's interesting that you encapsulate ideas and emotions with images in art. I think that, as children, we are given more emotional freedoms when it comes to viewing and interpreting art. I am a largely auditory person, but when I write, I almost always write about artists and people immersed in the visual world. Go figure….


  3. Nice painting indeed. Also one of my favourites as i posted in my blog. Btw, thanks so much for dropping by my blog and following it. I really appreciate it. I’m new to it but i see a good prospects in it ^^. Keep up the good work!!


  4. I first came across this painting as the cover of a bargain issue of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. I’ve associated it with the story ever since. I always imagine the subject being in a very northerly, perhaps Arctic climate when I see this.


  5. To round the comments out to an even eleven, I must add my own impression of the Wanderer. I see a walker, still strong, still erect, who has reached a pinnacle. Fog obscures the verdant valleys, but he isn’t looking for those after all. What he sees are other, higher, mountains to climb. This presents aspiration, with both the positive and the negative aspects revealed. If you don’t mind a bit of amateur psychoanalysis, I think you like this image because you are the walker. The walking stick is your “pen.” Fog covers the less urgent necessities of life, leaving only the higher achievements to conquer. You see yourself as a Renaissance man, always growing, always spreading your wings to expand your perspective.

    I feel enriched by reading your content. You have much to offer.


  6. Beautiful painting. My favorite is Whisperings of Love by Adolphe-William Bouguereau. It’s in our permanent collection here at the New Orleans Museum of Art- NOMA. As a child I would sit and stare at it for hours.


  7. The painting makes me feel how vulnerable mankind is. While the he has the appearance of power–almost god-like, surveying his own creation, that’s an illusion that I sense he understands. It’s true that he surveys a scene his finely tuned senses have created for him, he has to know how ephemeral is his creation, how impotent he is to alter it, how mysterious are the forces within him and without that yield what he surveys before him. And though he must sense that he creates only an illusion of power, standing over the mysterious fog, he knows he must pretend it is no illusion–that the power is real–and be determined to act upon it.


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