So as I said, I really don't have any attempt to say something profound or meaningful about this painting other than I am simply mesmerized by it. It is said that Friedrich fell through some thin ice at a young age, and that traumatic experience was something of an inspiration for this painting. The thing that I cannot get over about this painting is the dramatic light from above that illuminates the sharp icy pinnacles, and the beautifully geometric block-like nature of the ice that has somehow discolored with age, and makes it seem as though this ice has been literally frozen in time and has been stacked this way for eons.
On the right side of the composition, we can see the remains of a boat that has crashed and is partially sunken in the sea, giving the indication of a tragic incident that has happened. Friedrich has done with this painting what the best artists try to do, and that is to show beauty in the midst of ugliness or tragedy. The almost celestial light from above makes me think of how God is there even in tragedy. He is not distant, and the hardships are never hidden from His view, even in cold, icy, remote locations.
|The Sea of Ice|
oil on canvas