Mountain Landscape with Rainbow
|German: Gebirgslandschaft mit Regenbogen|
|Artist||Caspar David Friedrich|
|Type||Oil on canvas|
|Dimensions||70 cm × 102 cm (27.5 in × 40.1 in)|
|Location||Museum Folkwang, Essen|
Mountain Landscape with Rainbow (1809-10) (German: Gebirgslandschaft mit Regenbogen), is an oil painting by the German Romantic artist Caspar David Friedrich. Like the Riesengebirge Landscape (1810) this painting was inspired by Friedrich's 1809 travels through Germany and along the shores of the Baltic Sea. The observation of nature in his travels allowed Friedrich to compose a universal, idyllic landscape that is visionary rather than literal.
In the foreground a wayfarer has stopped to rest. He turns his gaze to the background, where a black abyss opens up. In those depths a few mountains can be glimpsed. Above the landscape, a rainbow forms in the waning light.
In Friedrich's oeuvre, paintings with a sharp contrast between the foreground and background are common, a separation symbolizing the spiritual and physical planes of existence. So it is in this painting: in the foreground the sun illuminates the foliage and the clothes of the traveller, and in contrast the darkness of night fills the rest of the image. The opposites of day and night, and of spirit and matter, are unified by a rainbow, which in the Genesis account of Noah's ark symbolized the covenant between God and humanity.