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An Introduction to the Portray of Caspar David Friedrich, Romanticism & the Elegant

When Denis Villeneuve was introduced because the director of the newest cinematic adaptation of Dune, few may have objected on aesthetic grounds. The blasted sand planet of Arrakis, with its storms and worms, calls for a way of the elegant; to a novel diploma amongst filmmakers working in the present day, the auteur behind Arrival and Blade Runner 2049 appeared to own it. Although lengthy since vulgarized to imply little greater than “extremely pleasant,” elegant has traditionally denoted a richer, extra advanced set of qualities. The elegant may be lovely, nevertheless it should even be indirectly fearsome, possessed of “a greatness past all chance of calculation, measurement, or imitation.”

That quote comes straight from the Wikipedia web page on “Elegant (philosophy),” which additionally prominently options Caspar David Friedrich’s portray Der Wanderer über dem Nebelmeer, or Wanderer above the Sea of Fog. Accomplished round 1818, it has change into a well-known picture even to those that know nothing of Friedrich’s work — work to which they’ll obtain an introduction from the brand new video above by Evan Puschak, higher generally known as the Nerdwriter.

Friedrich, he explains, was “related to German Romanticism, a rising mental and creative motion” of the late 18th and early nineteenth centuries “that sought to reconnect humanity with feeling and spirituality” after the Enlightenment so destabilized humanity’s Weltanschauung.

Friedrich’s landscapes, realistically painted if not essentially devoted to actual locations, “symbolize the head of this motion.” They do that by conveying “the sensation he has within the presence of the panorama, the staggering encounter with the divinity he sees in it. That is the essence of the elegant,” which took on particular urgency in an period “when secularism was threatening the core of Christianity.”  Greater than faith, the Romantics thus started to treat nature as superior (within the authentic sense), humbling themselves earlier than the greatness of landscapes actual and imagined. The wanderer looming above the ocean of fog is definitely an exception in Friedrich’s work, most of whose human figures are sufficiently small to emphasise “the vastness of the terrain” — a sublime-evoking method that we are able to nonetheless really feel working two centuries later, Puschak factors out, in Villeneuve’s Dune.

You possibly can pre-order Nerdwriter’s upcoming guide Escape into Which means: Essays on Superman, Public Benches, and Different Obsessions right here.

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Based mostly in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and tradition. His tasks embrace the guide The Stateless Metropolis: a Stroll by Twenty first-Century Los Angeles and the video sequence The Metropolis in Cinema. Comply with him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Faceboook.



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