FRIEDRICH, Caspar David
(b. 1774, Greifswald, d. 1840, Dresden)

Cross in the Mountains (Tetschen Altar)

1808
Oil on canvas, 115 x 110 cm
Gemäldegalerie, Dresden

If nothing more were known of the painter, this painting, the so-called 'Tetschen Altar' would command attention for its boldness in creating a devotional image from the materials of landscape. It is both the first masterpiece of one of the greatest Romantic landscape painters and a manifesto for the art of landscape itself. It exemplifies two important achievements of early Romanticism: the elevation of nature to a kind of religion, and of landscape to equal or surpass history painting.