Of Gods and Grizzlies: The Non-Aesthetic Nature and the new Kinship of Werner Herzog and Caspar David Friedrich

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Of Gods and Grizzlies: The Non-Aesthetic Nature and the new Kinship of Werner Herzog and Caspar David Friedrich

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Title: Of Gods and Grizzlies: The Non-Aesthetic Nature and the new Kinship of Werner Herzog and Caspar David Friedrich
Author: Blumenthal, Karl-Rainer
Advisor: Pavsek, Christopher
Department: Bryn Mawr College. Dept. of History of Art
Type: Thesis (B.A.)
Running Time: 417183 bytes
Issue Date: 2006
Abstract: Grizzly Man (2004), the latest documentary feature from Werner Herzog, re-energizes an old argument surrounding the influence of German Romanticist painting on the filmmaker's aesthetic vision. In the 1970s, Herzog garnered attention with films set against German Enlightenment-era backgrounds (The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser - 1974, Heart of Glass - 1976, Nosferatu - 1979). Critics seized upon compositional similarities between their landscape scenes in particular, and those of Dresden painter Caspar David Friedrich. In spite of the visual connection, Herzog denied that his visions were mediated through the influence of Romanticism. It is my assertion that there is an artistic kinship between Herzog and Friedrich that can be read in the figures that each positions in nature scenes, hoping to represent basic human truths by way of their struggles. Herzog, unlike the main character of Grizzly Man and Friedrich both, does not sentimentalize nature. There is no spirituality that speaks to him from the wild. However, the pursuit of ecstatic truth in men's inner turmoil mirrors Friedrich's explicitly religious motivations. Both artists follow men who enter nature, seek enlightenment, and come away instead with confusion and/or death. This pre-occupation with the precise source of man's quest in nature joins Werner Herzog and Caspar David Friedrich in a way that the critics of 1970s had not anticipated.
Subject: Herzog, Werner, 1942- -- Criticism and interpretation
Subject: Friedrich, Caspar David, 1774-1840 -- Influence
Terms of Use: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/us/
Permanent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10066/1114

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Citation

Blumenthal, Karl-Rainer. "Of Gods and Grizzlies: The Non-Aesthetic Nature and the new Kinship of Werner Herzog and Caspar David Friedrich". 2006. Available electronically from http://hdl.handle.net/10066/1114.

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http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/us/ Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/us/