HomeΦιλοσοφια: International Journal of Philosophyvol. 39 no. 1 (2010)

The Philosopher as Romantic Wanderer: An Ekphrastic Engagement with Caspar David Friedrich’s Paintings

Noelle Leslie C. De La Cruz

Discipline: Philosophy



Caspar David Friedrich was the quintessential Romantic figure, portraying the Sublime in his landscape paintings. The Romantic period, particularly in Germany, England, and France, was characterized by the full development of aesthetics as a separate branch of philosophy. The terrible Sublime was contrasted with the more formal elements of Beauty. In this paper, Dr. dela Cruz similarly compares the inarticulable aesthetic sensibility and the more formal method of logical analysis, underscoring her own transition from philosophy to creative writing. She provides a philosophical analysis of what picture theorists call the “visual metaphor” in Friedrich’s key works, in particular “The Wanderer Above a Sea of Fog” and “On the Sailingboat.” Her engagement with these works takes the form of a creative piece—an ekphrastic poem—integrated in a philosophical paper, which is also simultaneously about the aesthetics of that literary form.