Caspar David Friedrich

To mark the 250th anniversary of the birth of Caspar David Friedrich (1774–1840), the Alte Nationalgalerie, in co-operation with the Kupferstichkabinettof the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, is presenting its first major exhibition of the work of the most important painter of German Romanticism. On display will be over sixty paintings and over fifty drawings by Friedrich from Germany and abroad, including world-famous iconic works such as The Sea of Ice (1823–24) from theHamburger Kunsthalle, Chalk Cliffs on Rügen (1818–1819) from the Kunst Museum Winterthur, Cairn in Snow (1807) from the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden and The Stages of Life (1834) from the Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig.

A central theme of the exhibition Caspar David Friedrich. Infinite Landscapes is the role of the Nationalgalerie in the rediscovery of Friedrich’s art in the early 20th century. A comprehensive exhibition on Caspar David Friedrich (1774–1840) is particularly overdue in Berlin. The Nationalgalerie is home to one of the largest collections of Friedrich’s paintings in the world, and numerous acquisitions and public presentations in the Prussian capital contributed to the artist’s early fame during his lifetime.

After Friedrich had fallen into oblivion during the second half of the nineteenth century, the Nationalgalerie honoured him in 1906 as never before in the legendary Jahrhundertausstellung, an exhibition dedicated to a century of German art. On show were ninety-three paintings and drawings, celebrating Friedrich as an exquisite painter of light and atmosphere and as a pioneer of modern art.

The current exhibition brings to life the rediscovery of the Romantic painter in the Jahrhundertausstellung by showing almost half of the masterpieces that were on display there, such as TheMonk by the Sea (1808–1810), The Sea of Ice (1823–24), The Stages of Life (1834), The Lonely Tree (1822), Cairn in Snow (1807) and Two Men Contemplating the Moon (1819/20).

Pendant Paintings

Installed on two floors of the Alte Nationalgalerie, the exhibition begins with a section devoted to Friedrich’s pendant paintings. In these companion pieces, the artist gave expression to different perspectives as well as to the idea of change, thereby posing still-relevant questions about life’s journey and the cycles of nature. The Monk by the Sea (1808–1810) and The Abbey in the Oakwood (1809–1810) from the Nationalgalerie – likely the most famous of the artist’s pendant paintings – underscore the uniqueness of the collection.

Friedrich’s artistic creation was crucially informed by his hikes along the coast and in the mountains. His life oscillated between his birth town of coastal Greifswald and Dresden, the city of his choosing, where died. In several exhibition rooms, the exhibition pays close attention to Friedrich’s depictions of coasts and mountains as the central pictorial subjects of his oeuvre.

Creative Process

A further focus is Friedrich’s creative process. Taking his drawings as a starting point, a section of the exhibition is devoted to his artistic training as well as to the most recent scientific findings on the artist’s painting techniques. The research carried out at the Alte Nationalgalerie in this area is made accessible for visitors through a media station.

The history of Friedrich’s painting in the collection of the Nationalgalerie is also a history of loss. Four of his works have been considered lost since the Second World War. The exhibition tour concludes with contemporary photo montages by Hiroyuki Masuyama (b. 1968), which illustrate the enduring topicality of Caspar David Friedrich. The backlit photomontages recreate and interpret Friedrich’s paintings, including works held by the Nationalgalerie.

Special Opening Hours

During the exhibition Caspar David Friedrich. Infinite Landscapes, the museum will have the following special opening hours:

  • Beginning Friday, 19 April 2024, the museum will be open on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 am to 8 pm.
  • Beginning Sunday, 5 May 2024, the museum will open at 9 am Tuesdays to Sundays and additionally Thursdays to Saturdays until 8 pm.
  • Beginning Thursday, 4 July 2024, the museum will be open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 9 am to 8 pm.

The permanent exhibition is accessible during the common opening hours Tuesdays to Sundays 10 am to 6 pm.


The exhibition is curated by Birgit Verwiebe, curator of painting at the Alte Nationalgalerie.

Publication on the Exhibition

At the occasion of the exhibition, an extensive, illustrated catalogue will be published by Prestel Verlag in German and English, edited by Birgit Verwiebe and Ralph Gleis (hardcover, 352 pages, 300 colour plates, 25.0 x 29.5 cm; ISBN: 978-3-7913-7742-1). With contributions by Werner Busch, Hilmar Frank, Ralph Gleis, Johannes Grave, Sintje Guericke, Kristina Mösl, Anna Marie Pfäfflin, Birgit Verwiebe, Gerd-Helge Vogel. Museum edition 30 euros, bookstore edition 49 euros. 

Caspar David Friedrich Anniversary Year 2024

In 2024, Friedrich’s anniversary year, the Berlin presentation is one of a series of thematically independent exhibitions: at the Hamburger Kunsthalle (15 December 2023–1 April 2024), at the Alte Nationalgalerie of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (19 April–4 August 2024) as well as at the Albertinum (24 August 2024–5 January 2025) and the Kupferstich-Kabinett (24 August–17 November 2024) of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden. The exhibitions are taking place under the patronage of the Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

As part of the project Datenraum Kultur, the web portal has been developed for the anniversary year with curated multimedia presentations about Friedrich’s work. The new digital story “Was ist modern? Caspar David Friedrich auf der Jahrhundertausstellung 1906” (“What is modern? Caspar David Friedrich at the 1906 Jahrhundertausstellung”) introduces surprising perspectives on the painting The Lonely Tree (1822) from the collection of the Alte Nationalgalerie. The expanded chronicle furthermore presents information about Friedrich’s legacy, especially regarding media reception at the time of the Jahrhundertausstellung. See (developed in collaboration with Acatech and Fraunhofer FIT, and supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media).

The life and impact of the painter will be celebrated in the city of his birth, Greifswald, in 2024, with a year-round programme of special events.

In 2025, celebrating the 250th anniversary of the birth of Caspar David Friedrich, the Metropolitan Museum of Art will be presenting the first comprehensive exhibition on the artist in the United States: Caspar David Friedrich: The Soul of Nature, 7 February to 11 May 2025. It will take place in collaboration with the Alte Nationalgalerie of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden and the Hamburger Kunsthalle.

A special exhibition of the Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, made possible by the Freunde der Nationalgalerie and is funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media and by the Cultural Foundation of the German Federal States.

Source : Museen zu Berlin