Caspar David Friedrich was born in Greifswald in 1774. He received his artistic training in his home town and then, from 1794 on, at the art academy in Copenhagen. In 1798 he moved to Dresden, where he would live for the rest of his life. In 1801 he took the first of several trips to Rügen. He also regularly visited Berlin, New Brandenburg, Saxon Switzerland and Greifswald. He gradually accumulated a circle of friends that included the painters Otto Runge, Gerhard von Kügelgen and Georg Friedrich Kersting as well as the writer Ludwig Tieck, and later even Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. In 1808 Friedrich presented in his atelier the painting Cross in the Mountains (The Tetschen Altar), which unleashed a critical brouhaha that became known as the “Ramdohr Debate” and made Friedrich instantly famous. In 1810, at the Berlin Academy exhibition, the Prussian crown prince purchased the paintings Monk by the Sea and Abbey in an Oak Forest. Around 1814 Friedrich enlisted in the struggle for liberation. In 1816 he became a member of the Dresden Academy, which named him a professor of landscape painting in 1824 – but without authorising him to actually teach. Among his circle of friends were the painters Carl Gustav Carus and Johan Christian Dahl. Friedrich’s productivity declined beginning in 1826, and in 1840 he died in Dresden.