Eastern Coast of Rügen Island with Shepherd

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

Date: ca. 1805–6

Medium: Sepia colored ink, sepia colored wash, white gouache and graphite on off-white wove paper

Dimensions: 24 1/4 x 39 inches (61.6 x 99 cm)

Classification: Drawings

Credit Line: Purchase, several members of The Chairman's Council Gifts and Fletcher Fund, and Promised Gift of Leon D. and Debra R. Black, 2002

Accession Number: 2002.260


Before he took up painting in 1807, Caspar David Friedrich had already created some of the most fascinating landscape drawings of his time. This exceptionally large sheet from about 1805-6 is based on sketches made on the island of Rügen, in the Baltic Sea, not far from the artist’s birthplace. The austere island inspired some of Friedrich’s greatest works, in which he combined a close observation of nature with a pervasive romanticism. A solitary human figure contemplating the expanse of nature would be a recurring theme in his oeuvre.