C. D. Friedrich at the Far Side
December 23, 2012
Caspar David Friedrich’s The Chasseur in the Forest is one of the master’s most enigmatic paintings (and, considering the cryptic symbolism of Friedrich’s work in general, that’s saying something…). Showing a lonely soldier in French uniform wandering through a wintery forest, the best clue regarding the painting’s meaning is its date: 1814, i.e. the year of Napoleon’s (as it turned out: only temporary) defeat. The consensus therefore is that the intended message was somewhere along the lines of “the teeny-tiny French soldier is rendered small and insignificant when faced with the mighty and eternal German Forest”…
However, when I look at that painting, what comes to my mind is something more akin to the caption in a Gary Larson cartoon:
“Lost in thought, Colonel Bértrand had been pondering for hours which tree to choose for Christmas. Only when the evening sky grew darker, did he realise that his horse was gone and there was a hungry-looking raven eyeing him with a certain unnerving attention…”
Hey, what’s the use in studying art history when you can’t have a little fun with it…
Merry Christmas everyone!