This is a mystical, fairy tale place, painted by a man who believed in fairy tales. As was his habit, he took the image of a place he knew, Oybin Castle, and turned it into a world apart. This is a thing genre authors regularly do – like fantasy painters we take what we know and reshape it into something wonderful.
This particular view didn’t exist in this exact form, ever. But it did in his mind, and he painted it, placing himself in the middle of it. The smallest details of the perfect trees combined with the broad red coloration of the walls and the dusk-red of the sky to create the image of a moment he wished for, an hour of serenity.
Sunset, the hour of twilight, is a powerful moment, a time of transition between the worlds. We move from the world of daylight to the world of darkness. The same moment of spiritual power occurs at dawn. Fantasy painters are like authors, capable building a fantasy world in one image.
Friedrich found his happy place in the fantasy worlds he painted.
About the Artist, via Wikipedia:
Caspar David Friedrich (5 September 1774 – 7 May 1840) was a 19th-century German Romantic landscape painter, generally considered the most important German artist of his generation. He is best known for his mid-period allegorical landscapes which typically feature contemplative figures silhouetted against night skies, morning mists, barren trees or Gothic ruins. His primary interest was the contemplation of nature, and his often symbolic and anti-classical work seeks to convey a subjective, emotional response to the natural world. Friedrich’s paintings characteristically set a human presence in diminished perspective amid expansive landscapes, reducing the figures to a scale that, according to the art historian Christopher John Murray, directs “the viewer’s gaze towards their metaphysical dimension.”
Artist: Caspar David Friedrich (1774–1840)
Title: German: Klosterruine Oybin (Der Träumer)
English: Ruins of the Oybin (Dreamer)
Genre: landscape art
Date: circa 1835
Medium: oil, on canvas
Dimensions: Height: 27 cm (10.6 ″); Width: 21 cm (8.2 ″)
Collection: Hermitage Museum
Credits and Attributions
Ruins of the Oybin (Dreamer) – Caspar David Friedrich 1835 [Public domain]
Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Caspar David Friedrich 011.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Caspar_David_Friedrich_011.jpg&oldid=326731449 (accessed May 24, 2019).
Wikipedia contributors, “Caspar David Friedrich,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Caspar_David_Friedrich&oldid=897812018 (accessed May 24, 2019).