Riesengebirgslandschaft mit aufsteigendem Nebel

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The picture shows the view of the "Sieben Gründe" (Seven Valleys) in the Krkonoše Mountains, above which appears another mountain range, the "Schnee Gruben” (Snow Pits). The superimposed Alpine layering of two mountain ranges may be interpreted as an intensification of the religious expression on which the pictorial idea is based. In the barren, quiet mountain regions, the vegetation is scarce, there are only a few isolated dead trees that have withered over the years. Even moss and lichen are thin and leave the piled-up boulders largely uncovered. The image section gives a clear view on the tugging and falling of the mountain ridges, which seem to sway in the fog; no sign of civilisation is visible, instead there seems to be timelessness and the view into a primeval landscape.

The way, in which the motifs are composed, as well as the diversified, melancholic colour values, let us suspect the basic idea of the mystification of a natural phenomenon. In addition, it has been possible to prove (Helmut Börsch-Supan) that Friedrich created a Christian-religious vocabulary of expression for his paintings, which in this case interprets, for example, the precipices and valleys as a parable of earthly existence and the threat of death is symbolised by the dead trees. The rocks symbolise the faith, the mountains God. Within Friedrich's oeuvre, among several versions of the treeless regions of the Krkonoše Mountains, this one is to be regarded as the earliest.

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