Hermitage Rooms Archive

The Genius of Caspar David Friedrich:
German Romantic Art for Russian Imperial Palaces



Painting: On a Sailing Ship, (1818-1819), by Caspar David Friedrich
On a Sailing-Boat

Painting: Adolph von Menzel, (1815 - 1905). Festival Performance in the Theatre of the New Palace in 1829. Watercolour and gouache over pencil on paper, 44.5 x 56.9cm
Festival Performance in the Theatre of the New Palace in 1829


Painting: Friedrich Johann Overbeck, (1789 - 1869). The Triumph of Religion in the Arts. Oil on canvas, 145 x 146cm
The Triumph of Religion in the Arts


Drawing: Caspar David Friedrich, (1774 - 1840). Owl in a Gothic Window. Pencil and sepia, 37.8 x 25.6cm
Owl in a Gothic Window

20th April - 18th August 2002
The exhibition is generously supportd by Donald and Jeanne Kahn

This exhibition will bring twelve masterpieces by Caspar David Friedrich from the State Hermitage Museum's collection in St Petersburg, together with work by his German contemporaries.

Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840) was the leading artist of the German Romantic movement, notable especially for his symbolic and atmospheric treatment of landscape. Friedrich and his contemporaries are almost totally unrepresented in British public collections, however the Hermitage holdings from this gr eat period of German art have no equal outside Germany, and even rival the best there.

Fittingly this exhibition marks the 150th year of the opening of the New Hermitage in 1852, which marked the culmination of Tsar Nicholas I's reign. The richness of the Hermitage's German collection is due to the enthusiasm of Nicholas and his wife Alexandra, sister of Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia. This exhibition and accompanying catalogue will explore this remarkable patronage that makes Nicholas I one of the outstanding formative influences on the character of the Hermitage collection.

As well as the main focus of Friedrich's work the exhibition will include a series of gouaches by Adolph von Menzel (1815-1905) commissioned for Alexandra by her brother Friedrich Wilhelm, paintings by Friedrich Johann Overbeck (1789-1869), Joseph Anton Koch (1768-1839) and Leo von Klenze (1784-1864) the architect of the New Hermitage in St Petersburg.