Caspar David Friedrich was a German painter of scenes depicting people at natural landscapes and moments before a sunset or sunrise. For me, his painting called “Woman at a Window” is very similar to many of his works in that it features a single figure that requires your contemplation about life.
This oil in canvas work was finished in 1822 at Greifswald, Germany. The woman in the painting is no other than Friedrich’s wife, Caroline Bummer, who married him in 1818. She is seen looking out of this rear-view window of the his studio in Dresden. Reflecting on this painting, we do not merely see a woman’s figure from behind. Instead, we try to be her and see that moment through her eyes. We try to determine what she feels by looking out through this window and imagine what her life was like being confined in a room with such a limited view of the outside world.
We notice that there is another window above her and it is closed. It has this little wood framing of a cross. This means that spirituality must have been an important aspect of her life above anything else. More importantly, we will notice that outside, there is a ship and a coastline with trees. She must have been at a harbor. At this point in time, the ship was slowly passing by. Its mast is closed but seems to be moving forward. This could be a metaphor of her life as she watches it slowly pass before her. All of the things she sees with her eyes will move forward and still, she would be in this same environment. This painting currently resides at the Alte Nationalgalerie or the Old National Gallery in Berlin, Germany.
Wolf, N. (2003). Caspar David Friedrich, 1774-1840: The Painter of Stillness. Retrieved from http://books.google.com.ph/books?id=kJp8TyaFsFYC