The seasons, the times of day, the ages of man – universal themes in the history of European art and culture. However, while the works of the periods before 1800 – whether in hymnal joy or admonishing worry – were concerned with the situation of humanity within the eternal cycle of nature and the will of the Creator, the perspective was reversed at the dawn of modernity: natural cycles became a mirror, an image, of the spirit and disposition of the subject. The literature, philosophy, and aesthetics of the period richly document this development. In the visual arts, Caspar David Friedrich’s first series of seasons marks this shift from the material of the great tradition to a concept of the modern. In addition to Winter, the online catalogue includes both of the other extant works from the cycle, Spring and Autumn, which are also to be seen within this context. The depiction of Summer is still lost at present. Please see the more extensive description under Spring.