Wanderers Above the Mist

I am passionate about “visual dialogues”, whether in paint, photography, or prints.  It carries the ideas forward and recontextualizes them, much the way writers, poets, musicians, and filmmakers do.  It makes the work richer and layered in meaning and no less original.  It is a creative conversation.

In 1818, German Romantic painter, Caspar David Friedrich’s  painted “The Wanderer Above the Mist”, also known as “Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog”.


Caspar David Friedrich, Monk by the Sea

A well known analog photographer also paid tribute to this painting in a picture of a man with dog by the lake.  Was it John Szarkowski, author of The Photographer’s Eye  and Looking at Photographs?  Years ago I heard a talk about this and kept it in the back of my mind for this painting and future photographs. I hope I run across the photograph  so I can share it.  If not, maybe a photographer friend may know.

There are also connections made between Friederich and Chinese landscape painters. Is it coincidental or was Friedrich actually aware of the Chinese landscapes? Of course, there are big differences, which is part of recontextualizing even when the artist is consciously making connections.  James Elkins discusses the similarities between Friedrich’s Two Men in Contemplation of the Moon with a Southern Song painting by Ma Yuan as well as other East/West comparisons, starting on page 34 in the link below.


In this portrait of my husband and dog, I depicted him in his work clothes from the dog’s point of view, rather than in the fancy dress of Friedrich’s wanderer. That may be another painting some day.

Wanderers Above the Mist oil on canvas


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