Two Men Contemplating the Moon

Artist: Caspar David Friedrich (German, Greifswald 1774–1840 Dresden)

Date: ca. 1825–30

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 13 3/4 x 17 1/4 in. (34.9 x 43.8 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Wrightsman Fund, 2000

Accession Number: 2000.51


These two figures are seen from behind so that the viewer may participate in their communion with nature. They have been identified as Friedrich, at right, and his friend and disciple August Heinrich (1794–1822). Fascination with the moon ran high among the German Romantics, who regarded the motif as an object of pious contemplation. This is the third version of one of Friedrich’s most famous compositions, of which the first was painted during Heinrich’s lifetime (1819; Gemäldegalerie, Dresden) and the second soon after his death (ca. 1824; Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin).