Caspar David Friedrich: ruin of Eldena in the Sudeten Mountains

Caspar David Friedrich (1774 – 1840), ruin of Eldena in the Sudeten Mountains,
oil on canvas, 1830/34;
height: 72 cm

Darkness descends over the sweeping landscape, as the artist frequently observed on his walks through the dusk. The aged painter uses the dessicated branch and the ruin of Eldena Monastery, which he had known from his childhood, to symbolise the twilight of life. The thatched roof of a farmhouse ducks beneath a woven fence; outside stand two men, lost in conversation. The day's work is done: a horse is led into the stable, unsaddled and removed from its harness – the end of the day, of all days, in the deepest sense. The last remaining light is shown only above the rising outlines of the gently rolling mountain range.

The ruin in Pomerania and the Schneegruben region in the Sudeten Mountains are perfect for this poetic thought. Above, the clear sky glows, remote from all things earthly. On a small sketch he uses for the painting, Friedrich jots down the words: "Marked by the night, turned toward the morning". Behind the dark night of death, he believes, following the beauty of the evening, an even more pleasant morning awaits.


Text: B.F.

The exhibit refers to:

Western Pomerania until 1945

Look here for the original exhibit:

Pommersches Landesmuseum

Pommersches Landesmuseum

Rakower Straße 9
17489 Greifswald