14 Following


Currently reading

Vineland (Classic, 20th-Century, Penguin)
Thomas Pynchon
Tristes Tropiques
John Weightman, Doreen Weightman, Patrick Wilcken, Claude Lévi-Strauss
Richard III
William Shakespeare
The Dwarf
Alexandra Dick, Pär Lagerkvist
The Collected Poems of Wilfred Owen
Wilfred Owen, Cecil Day-Lewis
Richard Wolin
Giotto to Dürer: Early Renaissance Painting in the National Gallery
Jill Dunkerton, Susan Foister, Dillian Gordon, Nicholas Penny
Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics
Hubert L. Dreyfus, Paul Rabinow
Gravity's Rainbow
Thomas Pynchon
A Gravity's Rainbow Companion: Sources and Contexts for Pynchon's Novel
Steven Weisenburger

Caspar David Friedrich and the Subject of Landscape

Caspar David Friedrich and the Subject of Landscape - Joseph Leo Koerner This book is not flawless, but it is very good. It contains, as the GR friend who tipped me off to this has said - one of the best discussions of Romanticism you might ever find.

But I found myself having to skip certain sections - partially, some of it was more detailed than I needed, dealing with particulars that I found not very interesting - for example, some of the painting analysis, which wasn't really formal as…. well….,

if I'm reading a book about a late 18th/early 19th cen. landscapist, I don't want to read the name Merleau-Ponty, or be told that F.'s picture of snow is really about what Derrida thinks the world is about. This sort of stuff, imho, is just pretentious, and the sort of thing that has clogged the Humanities since WWII. There's too much subjective analysis - metaphor masquerading as analysis - for five stars.

Part of my problem is that I don't really like Friedrich's early paintings that much on a subjective level…. they feel somewhat artificial. But the paintings beginning in the early 1820's and running through to the end of his life, are different -- richer, with a greater depth of natural (as opposed to national) feeling -- and one can see in them the influence of Turner and Constable (e.g., the two Evening paintings of Sept. and Oct. 1824), and the transition to what will be termed the Barbizon style quite clearly (e.g., Morning, 1821; Noon, 1822), or the beautiful Landscape with Windmills, 1822. Friedrich fell out of favor later in life - critics charged his work had become too self-absorbed, nothing but waves of mist and fog. But the truth is quite the opposite - his work gains greater clarity, his palette actually lightens, and focus.

The book is nicely produced - with glossy color (and some black and white) photos -- not large format, but nice nonetheless.

Friedrich, Arkona at Moonrise, 1805-1806 (Vienna)