Caspar David Friedrich. SEASONS
At the Cradle of Romanticism

23.11.2006 to 11.03.2007

Kupferstichkabinett

A premiere: at the end of its 175th anniversary year the Berlin Kupferstichkabinett - Museum of Prints and Drawings presents its in every respect most precious acquisition of the last decades. It was made possible through the generous support of the Hermann Reemtsma Foundation, the Kulturstiftung der Länder as well as a loan from the Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung and amounts to a sensation.


The first Seasons cycle by Caspar David Friedrich, dated 1803, comes from a German private collection and has been regarded as lost for over 70 years. The three sepia pictures of Spring, Autumn and Winter (Summer remains missing) are counted among the icons of Romantic art. After the restoration of the many war damages, they will be able to be presented in their virtually original beauty. The Seasons are the very first works to include the motifs of allegorical figures of children (developed under the direct influence of Friedrich's artist friend Philipp Otto Runge), the cross on the rock and the high mountains (stirring associations with the Watzmann), the Eldena ruins in aromantically re-interpreted context, and the old man at the grave.

It was during his work on the Seasons, too, that Friedrich invented his "Romantic" method of blending nature's and man's lives in cyclical arrangement and charging images with symbolism - images which, although they seem wholly natural, are in fact constructed according to strict formal rules. The cycle of 1803 formulates the entire vocabulary of Caspar David Friedrich's later oeuvre. The exhibition shows the rediscovered works in the context of numerous studies, watercolours, and sepia drawings by Caspar David Friedrich, the Times of Day by Pilipp Otto Runge, as well as a documentation of the restoration and the drawing technique.