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Friedrich (Taschen Basic Art) [Paperback]

Norbert Wolf
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

30 April 2003 Taschen Basic Art
Sublime stillness: Capturing nature's moody splendor The solitude of man and the bleak beauty of nature are prominent themes in the work of Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840), the great romantic painter whose importance and influence have often been underestimated. Now widely considered to be the most important German artist of his generation, Friedrich died in obscurity and wasn't fully appreciated until the early 20th century. An important precursor to the Expressionists, Friedrich once wrote that an artist must "close your bodily eye so that you may see your picture first with the spiritual eye. Then bring to the light of day that which you have seen in the darkness so that it may react upon others from the outside inwards." About the Series: Each book in TASCHEN's Basic Art series features: a detailed chronological summary of the life and oeuvre of the artist, covering his or her cultural and historical importance a concise biography approximately 100 illustrations with explanatory captions

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Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Taschen GmbH (30 April 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3822819581
  • ISBN-13: 978-3822819586
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 18.8 x 0.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 255,993 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent survey of a charismatic painter 1 Feb 2011
By Peasant TOP 500 REVIEWER
When I first reviewed this book, it was listed at an astronomical price. I'm glad someone has seen sense as it is an excellent introduction to a painter who is too little known in Britain.

Apart from the iconic - and endlessly reproduced - "The Wanderer Above A Sea Of Mist", few British people have encountered the strange disturbing work of Friedrich. Some is decidedly "gothic" in mood; other paintings exude a zen-like calm. The text is by an expert in the field, and sets Friedrich in his time; one which was very significant in shaping the artist's work. Wolf's gives us a well-rounded biography and places the artist's work and ideas in the essential context of the world of philosophical and political thought in early 19th century Germany. A great deal of insight and a huge number of very high quality reproductions are (as usual with Taschen) crammed into a slim, modest book only 7 1/2 ins by 9ins.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Nicholas Casley TOP 500 REVIEWER
I bought this copy in the shop at the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin, where a small number of Friedrich's painting is kept. Taschen's 2007 volume is profusely illustrated with the painter's works: I counted over eighty, some covering double-pages. The author, Norbert Wolf, in five chapters provides a chronological account of Friedrich's life and a commentary on his works.

There is no introduction, but the first chapter - `The Mystic with the Bridge' - can be viewed as such, demonstrating the opposing interpretations of Friedrich's work that occurred in his own time and later, particularly about its latent symbolism. More than most artists, Friedrich's work invokes a virtual reality: "The sort of landscape in which Friedrich was chiefly interested ... was never a simple imitation of nature, but the result of a complicated interplay of visual impression and mental and emotional reflection", writes Wolf.

Chapter two - `Art is Infinite' - takes the reader chronologically from the author's birth in 1774 up to his painting of the Tetschen Altar (`The Cross in the Mountains') of 1807-08. Early paintings are briefly described before Wolf focuses attention on this work, using it to contextualise religious and political currents in Napoleonic Europe and placing it within its artistic and cultural environment.

`Nature as Allegory' is the title of the third chapter, which takes us to the German patriotism evinced at the end of the Wars of Liberation from the Napoleonic yoke. Admiration for Friedrich's work in his own lifetime reached its height around 1810 with `The Monk by the Sea' and `The Abbey in the Oak Wood'.
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4.0 out of 5 stars small but good overview at a very low price! 17 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
... and above all, affordable! One of Taschen's excellent 'introduction' guides, less than a hundred pages and rather small reproductions but for less than 6 pounds, a good buy. "The mystic with the brush" is described in many words, from his youth to his death (1774-1848), and interpretations of many of his paintings and drawings - 'moodscapes', as Wolf calls them, 'that resonate in the psyche'... your mileage may vary, but there are enough reproductions to give you an excellent idea. Reproduction is very sharp, too, and the quality of the whole small book is very good.
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By Brian G
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
a fine and inexpensive edition which includes all the more famous and outstanding and iconic paintings.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Visual German Romantic Weltanschaunng 11 Nov 2005
By Mark Newbold - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
For someone new to the art of Casper David Friedrich, the first emotional response is that of awe. The color and compositions of Friedrich's work are humbling and humane at the same time. The artistic idealism found in his work is an organic out-growth of Friedrich's Protestant mystical piety at the zenith of German Romantic philosophical fervor.
Much metaphor, symbolism and perspective are at play within these works, that lead to an enobling of the human spirit. This is a perfect gift for anyone who is just beginning to increase their knowledge of 19th century European art.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful book. 27 Aug 2011
By sem boundries - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have always loved the works of Friedrich. This book does them full justice with the addition of a well written text exploring the artist's life and themes.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb 10 Aug 2013
By The Max - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Taschen full color reproductions of art and Norbert Wolf's text describing each painting are unexcelled.
Friedrich's works deserve wider audience.
Get the book - maybe with a favorite beverage on hand - a quiet moment -and just
let your mind dwell.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Bargain 25 Jan 2013
By Anne Clausen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have been following the Khan Academy art history course and was intrigued by Caspar David Friedrich's works. I wanted to see more so I checked out amazon.com and found the Taschen Basic Art book. It cost less than $10! Amazing! And it's chock full of Friedrich's beautiful works and loads of text on his life and method. I would recommend this book to anyone who doesn't have a lot of money to spend but wants to experience Caspar David Friedrich's world! It's a trip!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtakingly beautiful 5 Nov 2012
By Mr. William J. Walter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This Caspar book is of the old school in which we are not shocked by ugliness, nor baffled by confusing, meaningless shapes. This is straight art, beautifully executed and rich in compelling emotion.
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