The small-format painting shows the cemetery gate of Priesnitz, near Dresden. Caspar David Friedrich placed the crumbling walls and the rickety gate in the shade, in a close-up view and with a vertical axis, parallel to the edges of the painting, thus barring the view of the picturesque grounds with the graveyard crosses, small church, and monumental west tower. Friedrich’s painting has an inherent religious dimension to it without employing an underlying clear, conventional language of symbols. On the contrary, Friedrich has subtly composed his carefully studied motif. The viewer is urged to probe the painting and thereby discern—as a result of this aesthetic process of experience— its deeper meaning: That this life on earth lies in the dark. Light may be found only on the other side of the gate, on the side where death is, which harbors the hope of eternal life.


  • Title: The Cemetery Gate
  • Creator: Caspar David Friedrich
  • Date Created: c. 1825/30
  • Physical Dimensions: 31.0 x 25.0 cm
  • Type: painting
  • Rights: Kunsthalle Bremen - Der Kunstverein in Bremen
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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