Caspar David Friedrich was a 19th century German landscape painter in the romantic tradition and considered to be the most important German painter of the time. He was born into a large and poor family on the Baltic coast and went to study in Copenhagen at the Academy of Art, having impressed his early tutors in his hometown of Greifswald. He moved to Dresden in 1798 and began to paint landscapes after frequent trips to the Baltic coast and the landscape of Northern Germany. He was elected a member of the Berlin Academy in 1810 following the purchase of two of his paintings by the Prussian Crown Prince. He married in 1818 and had three children. His paintings were also popular with the Russian nobility and many of his works were taken to hang in royal palaces in St Petersburg. At the end of his life, Friedrich's popularity was in serious decline and he died in near poverty, with his work all but forgotten until his rediscovery some 60 years later by Norwegian painter Edvard Munch, and then the Symbolists, German painter Max Ernst, then the other Surrealists including Rene Magritte who praised work by Friedrich. Even the famous color field painter Mark Rothko has credited Friedrich as being an inspiration, with "The Monk by the Sea" having inspired Rothko's "Light, Earth and Blue".
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