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

Morning in the Mountains

Oil on canvas, 135 x 170 cm
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

This large-format painting was probably purchased by the future Alexander II of Russia, whose collection also included Moonrise by the Sea (also in the Hermitage). Its vast panorama has often been interpreted as a vision of the hereafter, although the pastoral staffage in the foreground lends the whole the quality of an idyll and the rocky terrain can in fact be accessed via the path that runs at least as far as the steep cliffs in the middle ground. Opening up in front of the tiny shepherds on the rocky pinnacle, so we assume, is a view down into the dizzying depths below and beyond the track and cliffs into the infinite distance - a view yielding an impression of the sublime.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 5 minutes):
Edvard Grieg: Peter Gynt Suite No 1, Op, 46 ('Morning Mood')