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

The Chasseur in the Forest

Oil on canvas, 66 x 47 cm
Private collection

The French occupation of Germany was also the period of the painter's first success, much of which he owed to his adoption of specifically nationalist themes. The Gothic church, ruined or decayed, acquired a particular meaning for him, as did the German forest. When in 1814 he celebrated the expulsion of the French, it was with The Chasseur in the Forest, a haunting image of a solitary French dragoon lost in a wood of evergreens. It is a compassionate picture: the invader's fate is just and inevitable, but also sad, and seems to belong to the same higher natural destiny as the forest's vigorous growth.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.