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."
Norbert Wolf graduated in art history, linguistics, and medieval studies at the Universities of Regensburg and Munich, and earned his PhD in 1983. He held visiting professorships in Marburg, Frankfurt, Leipzig, Düsseldorf, Nuremberg-Erlangen, and Innsbruck. His extensive writings on art history include many TASCHEN titles, such as Diego Velázquez, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Caspar David Friedrich, Expressionism, Romanesque, Landscape Painting, and Symbolism.