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The adventurous life of Caspar David Friedrich's longing pictures - thrillingly told by bestselling author Florian Illies

No German painter triggers such emotions as Caspar David Friedrich: his evening skies are still icons of longing today, he inspired Samuel Beckett to »Waiting for Godot« and Walt Disney to »Bambi« – but Goethe was so angry at the mysterious melancholy of his pictures that he wanted to smash it on the edge of the table.


In his large-scale journey through time, Florian Illies tells the story of Friedrich's paintings for the first time: countless of his most beautiful paintings were burned, first in the house where he was born and then during the Second World War, others, such as the »Kreidefelsen auf Rügen« turned up a hundred years after Friedrich's death out of the fog of history. Illies tells how Friedrich's pictures end up at the Russian Tsar's court, between the winter tires in a mafia car repair shop and in the kitchen of a Hessian social housing. As revered by Hitler as by Heinrich von Kleist, hated by Stalin as by the 1968ers – 250 years of German history are made visible in the example of Friedrich.

Florian Illies transforms past epochs into a lively present with elegance and ease. He draws surprising cross-connections between the protagonists and combines scenes and snapshots into rousing panoramas. His worldwide success »1913. The Summer of the Century«, with which Illies founded a new genre, topped the SPIEGEL bestseller list for months.

(Program in German)
Additional information
mit dem S. Fischer Verlag und der Thalia Buchhandlung
Participating artists
Florian Illies (Autor/in)
Thea Dorn