Moonstruck by Casper David Friedrich

Caspar David Friedrich's Man and Woman Contemplating the Moon, 1818/1824

The painting depicted above which is called “Moonstruck” done by Casper David Freidrich which was an homage to a young couple who would rush to different dangerous landscapes during times of wild storms. The trust the couple shows in nature assuming that they would not get hurt and their various conquests and adventures. Whether it is shown that they are visiting  a rocky cliff to catch the beautiful morning sunrise. The depiction shares that to see the beauty of the natural world the male says “How great, how mighty, how wonderful!” when the beautiful overlook becomes visible.

This single painting while may be slightly ominous and vague with the two main characters not facing the viewer and the entire color scheme is rather dark, when it is understood in the context of the way the painter envisioned, it is clearly understood that the humans are visiting scary parts of nature for the greater view of what could come. What Mother Nature has to offer, even in the darkest of nights in the scariest of forests, their is still potential to have a beautiful sunrise right next to it.

This directly relates to what we are learning in German Environment, regarding the way Germans hold natures value substantially higher than Americans. They look towards nature to help medical symptoms, mental struggles and so much more.


Made by Monica Cummings, titled ‘Waldeinsamkeit’

This modern ink sketch depicts a Linden forest landscape with a beaten path cutting through it. Done completely in black ink with crosshatched shading to mimic 19th century engravings, the attention of the piece splits between two focal points; the path’s ending in the near center two-thirds of the way down the sketch, and the hub of an overhanging spiderweb in the right center. Lack of consistant shading represents the uneven lighting caused by leaf-cover in dense forests such as Germany’s Schwarzwald. The underbrush contains rocks, ferns, ivy, moss, and other foliage typical of Germany, with a stream cutting through the left corner. The backgroung contains nine Linden trees with resulting forest canopy. The image contains an upside down figure in the fetal position depicted through the negative spacing outlined by combination of the three closest Linden trees, and a large, knarled branch arching across the center.

Waldeinsamkeit, often translated as ‘forest solitude,’ refers to the German tradition of seeking out alone time in the woods for a sense of recovery and meditation. The word inself combines melancholy or negative feelings with the inclusion of lonliness, as well as enlightened, sublime feelings that come from fully experiencing the woods. Furthermore, forest landscapes relate to the development German nationality during Romantic Era. Fairy tales and short stories such as the collected works of the Brother’s Grimm, artworks by Caspar David Friedrich and poetic works put to song such “die Schoene Muellerin” by Schuman utilize the woods to express German identities.

A critical part of the German romantic forest stems from the inherent juxtoposition of danger and sublimity. Depitctions of forest landscapes in Romantic artworks contain both aesthetic beauty, holiness, or some type of positive power, as well as hexes, villains, and life-threatening terrains. Yet it’s into these landscapes that German’s seek renewal and peace of mind through Waldeinsamkeit. With it’s dark coloring and relatively unclear focal point, the image above contains the elements of inviting beauty and forboding unease seen in the Romantic Forest. This is difficult to express unless done visually. The upside down fetal figure represents the potential for renewal or ‘rebirth’ one gets through forest solitude, but also the potential for identity loss and complete seclusion from society one can feel when alone in the woods. In combination of Märchen symbols (such as Linden trees and forest paths,) contrasting emotions and the potential for rebirth, this image hopefully captures the complexities of Waldeinsamkeit and the Romantic Forest.

Abtei im Eichwald (The Abbey in the Oakwood)

Greetings everyone,

The piece of German artwork that I wanted to focus on was discussed in our German Environments class earlier this semester. The work is called “Abtei im Eichwald” (The Abbey in the Oakwood). The painting is by Caspar David Friedrich, who is a very well-known German artist from his time. The painting comes from the German Romanticism period and was painted from 1809-1810. The dark theme with the twisting trees around the crumbling abbey in the center really gives the painting an eerie feeling to it. The relation to German environments is that the painting highlights some important features that have been important to German culture. Specifically, the ‘woodland’ that the painting is located in highlights the background fear and curiosity that exists about the forest in German culture at the time. This can be shown through other fairy tales like Snow White and Little Red Riding Hood, which all had some purpose of fear/mystery within a forested environment of some sort. Just like these fairy tales, the painting shows the viewer that the suspicion and curiosity towards forested environments in Germany have been embedded in the culture for a long period of time.

I think that we can learn quite a bit from this artwork. I think that the crumbling abbey could possibly symbolize a sanctuary for the individuals who are walking toward the entrance. It also appears that the graves that are located around it help illustrate the abandoned feeling that is projected due to their unmaintained appearance. With the abbey placed in the middle of the twisted trees, it almost makes me feel like it is the only safe place for an individual in that environment, while it is surrounded by the darknesses that come from the forest. Also, with the light on the horizon in the painting, I hypothesize that there are safety or better times ahead. While it seems that the individuals who are walking to the abbey are not looking quite happy in the dark environment that surrounds them, it appears to show that the light of the day (and probably a happier, improved environment) is not too far off from the time that the scene takes place.

Overall, I think that the painting helps with illustrating to the observer the cultural context of religion and the forest among Germans. I do think, however, that a person who does not possess the cultural context of the painting may interpret it in a completely different manner.

“Trash People”

HA Schult is an 83 year old pop artist from Parchim, Mecklenburg. Most of his work is influenced by commercialism and consumerism. He started his work in environmental advocacy before it was popular to do so. He even earned himslef the nickname “eco-art pioneer”. One of his first projects was a fashion show where he displayed clothing he constructed out of trash in the 1960s. He has beem creating sustainable art work ever since and is continuing to gain popularity. Over the years he has made many works of art that are meant to demonstrate how people waste money on huge displays of wealth and how they harm the earth.

One of Schult’s most famous works of art is an installation called “Trash People”. It is a traveling work and has been displayed on all 7 continents over the span of 18 years. Schult first started collecting trash for his installation in 1996. In order to create all 1,000 trash sculptures he recruited 30 assistants to help him. With a lot of hard work the team finally finished all of the sculptures after six months. Each sculpture is made up of things like bottles, computer parts, and crushed cans that Schult collected himself. He had them displayed in large areas that get a lot of tourists so that they would reach a large audience. He does this to try to make people reflect on their behaviors and think about what they can do to help lower pollution.

“Trash People” is meant to display that humans lives are revolved around consumerism and the idea that everyone on earth produces crazy amounts of trash during our lifetimes. Schult is demonstrating that while we are alive we produce trash and when we die we become trash. That the rich make trash and the poor collect it. He is demonstrating that humans cannot live without an overconsumption of unnecessary things. Making the sculptures look like humans really causes the viewer to reflect on themselves and makes it much more impactful.

Overall his work has been very impactful and will continue to be for years. The lesson he teaches that overconsumption is a serious problem is something that will need to be taught for many years to come.


Contributors to Wikimedia projects. “HA Schult – Wikipedia.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 21 Apr. 2010,
Welle, Deutsche. “Trash Art Litters Cologne – DW – 04/20/2006.” Dw.Com, Deutsche Welle, 20 Apr. 2006,
Sim, David. “A Load of Rubbish: Eco-Artist HA Schult’s Trash People Sculptures.” International Business Times UK, International Business Times, 2 Apr. 2014,

Nils Udo


Nils Udo is a German artist from the mid 1900’s. He specializes in environmental art after realizing that the environment is endangered. Udo began by painting in Paris until he realized that he can include natural materials into his work. Soon after, he moved back to Bavaria and began to do his artwork outside and delved into environmental art. Udo does two types of artwork, one being sculptures with material he finds in nature and the other being environmental art that he brings back into cities. In almost all of his works, Nils primarily uses material that he finds in the space he is using. Eventually, Nils decided that he wanted to make something that would have a last effect. So, he turned to photography. By photography his natural art, Nils Udo has been able to sell this photographs and show how important nature is all over the world.

The piece of art that I focused on was his piece call Stone Age Man. This giant monument was created in 2001 in Wittgensteiner-Sauerland, Germany. It is a large temple shaped monument made of large tree trunks as the frame and a cube shaped rock. Everything that was used in this piece was found from the forest.

Nils Udo created this sculpture to highlight the fact that nature is forever and we are just living in it. The ancient temple shaped monument allows viewers to look at it and understand their vulnerability in life and nature. This work is in a German forest which allows those spending time in nature to admire its meaning.

This artist and art work is based in Germany but also connects to Germans sense of connection to nature and the forest. Germans have a word to describe their feeling in the forest, “Waldeinsamkeit” which translates to solitude in the forest. This solitude allows Germans to connect and appreciate nature for what it is. Udo continues to represent this in his art by creating natural sculptures in forests for Germans to admire.

Udo attempts to mimic nature in many of his works. While the Stone Age Man may not look like something that mimics nature, it represents the deep connection to nature that has been held over centuries. Other works of his also attempt to mimic the shape of animal made structures like nests and beaver dams. This shows his appreciation to works of art found naturally.

While Nils Udo creates these sculptures throughout the world, his appreciation stems from the culture of nature in Germany.

Nils Udo artwork “Stone-Age-Man” (photo found at

Work Cited:

Grande, J. K. (2021, May 27). Nils-Udo: Nature works. Sculpture. Retrieved April 24, 2023, from

Nils Udo. Art for the Environment. (2016, June 2). Retrieved April 24, 2023, from

Auto-destructive Art: Gustav Metzger

Metzger (1961) painting three nylon curtains, causing them to be permanently destroyed.

While this is less of a single art piece and more of a small movement, Auto Destructive Art (ADA) was an important aspect of German Art Culture in the early 1960s. Gustav Metzger, the founder of the movement, sought to exemplify the destructive capabilities of “modern” technology through his work, often in rather radical ways.
Metzger, who was often associated with multiple environmentalist, antifascist, and anarchist groups in Germany, used his self-created movement to protest nuclear proliferation during the Cold War. His medium, along with the “Group of 100” ,as the other ADA painters were known, was to paint using acid and other corrosive materials on nylon canvases that altered the pieces while they were being created (Tate Gallery).
Auto-destructive art is inherently political. According to Metzger’s thought, the world was too highly fixated on a morbid love of destruction. Along with that, he believed that humans rely too heavily on technology, which has untold consequences on human existence.
After a few years of working with other ADA artists, Metzger decided that a manifesto detailing the requirements of what a piece needs to do in order to be considered true ADA was in order. To be considered true ADA, a piece must “return to its original state of nothingness” within 20 years, the piece must continue to develop after the artist is finished (this was to avoid any sense of ownership being attached to the piece), and each work must be completed in a public space to allow public participation with each individual piece (Tate Gallery).
These requirements were tantamount to the movement’s effectiveness. The whole point of the movement was to inspire the public to embrace natural growth, development, and movement towards the future (Radical Art).
While the movement in its original form struggled to maintain relevance for long, several aspects of it have managed to influence contemporary artists, some being rather notable. The most relevant modern piece with ADA influences was Banksy’s 2006 work, Girl With A Balloon, which was shredded before an audience in 2018. In this case, the influence was the impermanence of art (Oxford Student). The piece was put through a paper shredder before an unknowing audience, many of whom had placed bids on the piece during the auction of it directly before its shredding.
To conclude, Auto-destructive Art falls into the broader category of counterculture art. It is art that not only displays the creative prowess of the artist, but also displays a message that challenges the traditional beliefs of society.


Works Cited:

2019, Culture·13th January, and Pratibha Rai. “The Curious Case of Auto-Destructive Art.” The Oxford Student, January 13, 2019.

“Auto-Destructive Art.” Auto-destructive art. Accessed April 24, 2023.

Tate. “Auto-Destructive Art.” Tate. Accessed April 24, 2023.


7000 Oaks

7000 Oaks – City Forestation Instead of City Administration is a work of land art located in Kassel, Germany. As indicated in the title, this artwork is composed of 7000 oak trees planted throughout the city, and each tree is paired with a columnar basalt stone. The design was first proposed in 1982 by German artist Joseph Beuys, but the planting of all the trees required help from volunteers and five years of work. With this project, Beuys wanted to bring attention to the rapid spread of urbanization in Kassel that was ongoing at the time.  

At first, the project was controversial. Some city residents were concerned that it would lead to the removal of parking lots and bring danger to the roadways. In fact, a motorcyclist ended up crashing into one of the basalt stones and losing his life. Other city residents thought that the basalt stones were visually unappealing and placed pink stones by the oak trees in protest. However, as time went on and more and more trees were planted, the city residents became increasingly tolerant and even supportive of the project. 

Through 7000 Oaks, Beuys was able to establish a connection between art and the environment in Kassel and show the city residents that they had a greater say in the cityscape than they might have originally thought. By choosing sites and planting trees, they could apply their creativity toward mitigating the negative effects of urbanization, including habitat loss, poor air and water quality, lack of adequate waste disposal, and high energy consumption. Beuys’ artwork has also received support from beyond the city of Kassel, inspiring city dwellers worldwide to take control of their own urban environments. 

Word about Beuys’ artwork reached countries such as the United States and England. The Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), developed the Joseph Beuys Tree Partnership Program in honor of Beuys’ 7000 Oaks. As part of the program, approximately 500 volunteers came together to build the Joseph Beuys Sculpture Park on UMBC campus and plant hundreds of trees in various parks in Baltimore. The goal of the program was to inspire creativity, collaboration, and healing within the UMBC and Baltimore communities.  

The Dia Art Foundation, a nonprofit organization committed to recognizing, preserving, and extending the vision of artists, extended Beuys’ 7000 Oaks to New York City by planting and maintaining more than 30 oak trees along West 22nd Street. In 2007, British artists Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey traveled to Kassel and collected acorns from Beuys’ 7000 Oaks. Oak trees grown from these acorns were displayed outside of an art gallery in London called Tate Modern in 2021.


“Schwarzwaldlandschaft” by Hans Thoma

“Schwarzwaldlandschaft” (1917) by Hans Thoma

The piece of art that I chose is an oil painting by German artist Hans Thoma called Schwarzwaldlandschaft, or “Black Forest Landscape.” It was painted at the beginning of the 20th century, when the colorful Fauvism style was most popular. It caught my eye because of its simplicity at first glance, but complexity as you notice each careful detail. Thoma created many similar portraits during his time alive, mainly painting natural landscapes and scenes in his home region of the German Black Forest. Born in Bernau, he was completely surrounded in his early life by the rolling hills, mountains, forests, and lakes that had entranced other artists, foresters, and wanderers of Germany for centuries.

His contemporary, romantic style had a unique perspective from his poor, rural upbringing, allowing him to depict scenes of daily life that were realistic to those in the region and that felt like a blink of a real scene in “simple” life. The nostalgia that his works bring, like this one, remind me of the contentment one can find in the slower pace of life. Sprinkled through the painting are small scenes of human-nature interaction. This includes a little girl standing by two small sheep resting by a creek, a man crossing a bridge carrying a scythe to harvest some type of crop, and some wooden fencing. Thoma is known for his local-based palette, bringing in the real colors of the flowers, grasses, and streams that covered the landscape around him in the BlacK Forest Region.

His work is unique because it romanticized the wilderness of Germany in a realistic way by not exaggerating or idealizing what the perfect scenery would be or always picking the most breathtaking views to paint. He chose scenes that many might find mundane and uninteresting without his delicate oil work and observational eye. Coming from a poor upbringing, he was able to understand and convey scenes of fulfillment in life without luxury, wealth, or class. He painted simple scenes of looking out the window towards a few trees, or the woods on a wintery day, often with ‘peasants’ as the main figures. In Schwarzwaldlandschaft, the same pigmented blue and orange tones on the little girls clothes can be seen reflecting in the creek. The man walking with a scythe also has clothes than seem to blend with a scene. While the people are clearly civilized and using the resources of the environment around them, they seem to live in harmony with the space.

Hans Thoma’s style was likely so impactful to Germans (and people around the world) because of its attention to the simple beauties of rural life. He showed the beauty in German scenery and why it’s important to preserve as much nature as possible. Without these gorgeous landscapes to look at and exist amongst, the contentment and connection with nature he and others felt would be entirely lost.


Der braune Bach by Hans Thoma. (n.d.). Artvee. Retrieved April 24, 2023, from

Hans Thoma. (2023, March 27). Wikipedia.

Tutt’Art, Z. B. (n.d.). Hans Thoma | Symbolist painter. Tutt’Art@ | Pittura • Scultura • Poesia • Musica. Retrieved April 24, 2023, from

“Trees” by Nils Udo

Udo, Nils. “Trees”. Photograph. Nils-Udo, Gasteig Munich, 1989.

Nils Udo is a German artist who is known for his pinpointed focus on environmentalist artworks including sculptures, paintings, and photographs. He was born in Bavaria, Germany in 1937 and was raised to appreciate the beauty of nature through German culture as well as work experience which he gained as a farming assistant in the Chiemgau Alps (Song, 2010). As Nils Udo grew in age, his fascination with nature continued to grow and heavily impacted his work as an artist. Taking a look at a specific piece of his work, “Trees” is a perfect example of Nils Udo showcasing his appreciation and conservational approach towards nature. “Trees” is a sculpture that was created by Nils Udo from branches of decaying trees in Munich (Udo, 1989). This work was created in 1989 and is “land-art,” which is a specific style of artwork popularized in the 1960’s-70’s that used materials from nature such as leaves, sticks, dirt, and used them to create a sculpture either within the area the materials were derived from or using the materials to create works that are showcased indoors (Tate Gallery, 2023). Nils Udo created many “land-art” pieces within Germany, such as “Trees” in Munich, and across the globe from France to Canada.

Nils Udo’s purpose in creating “land-art” was to limit the negative consequences of consumerism on the environment as well as to enhance the natural beauty of an area for the average individual (Song, 2010). Using items already found within each local environment helps keep the area free from potentially harmful and foreign structures or substances that could cause detrimental effects to local wildlife or plant life (Song, 2010). Nils Udo used this practice to display the beauty already hidden within local environments. Nils Udo is very passionate about preserving the environment and slowing the impacts of climate change which is why his works are centered around enhancing the beauty of an environment with materials that are native to the area.

Overall, the artwork “Trees” is important to German environments and Germany because it showcases the beauty of nature within its natural environment which pertains to trees from Munich for this artwork. Germany’s sustainable history and cultural significance of the environment aided Nils Udo in his artwork and his use of “land-art” which prompted his positions on environmental activism (Song, 2010). We can learn from this artwork and look for more sustainable resources within our own environment and use them to enhance our world as well as emphasize the beauty of the world as it is. These practices would aid in protecting the environment as well as limiting the use of over consumerism in the United States.


Dunne, Aidan. “Visual Arts: South: To the Waters and the Wild.” Circa, no. 105 (2003): 21–21.

The Board of Trustees of the Tate Gallery. “Land Art.” Tate Gallery, Accessed on April 23, 2023.

Udo, Nils. Trees. Photograph. Nils-Udo, Gasteig Munich, 1989.

Young Imm Kang Song. “Art in Nature and Schools: Nils-Udo.” The Journal of Aesthetic Education 44, no. 3 (2010): 96–108.



East Side Gallery-Birth of Kachinas

       “Birth Of Kachinas” is a mural painted in the East Side Gallery. It was painted by Indiano in 1990 and then restored in 2009 by a local Berlin artist and digital media creator named Yvonne Matzat (Google Arts and Culture, n.d.). This painting represents much more than what meets the eye at the first glance. The painting is a cry for change for the environment as pictured above. The scene displayed behind the pop of words “Save our Earth” is a city melting away after it is rained on by the acid rain clouds from above. On the right-hand side of the mural are pictured cartoon faces from the bottom being more realistic as human figures with plastered smiles. As the figures drift toward the direction of the sun, one can interpret that their facial expressions change into an uneasy and sickly gestures. In particular, the male-looking figure in the bottom right might be depicted as the Kachina doll that represents the culture of the Navajo people which is known for their belief in the idea that all things of the earth carry a life force (The History of the Kachina Doll, 2019). This could be interpreted to mean that the people on this earth should be mindful and thoughtful of the impacts that they have on the Earth.

         While the artwork itself is pertaining to sustainability, so is its canvas. Originally, known as the Berlin Wall, and has since become a place of fostering a relationship between memorialization and urban development (Thomas, 2018). Now known as the East Side Gallery, it has developed into a popular tourist spot for people to be able to view a piece of Germany’s past by looking at present-day art. The art shared on the sides of the wall encompasses the emotions, thoughts, politics, and opinions of the people surrounding it. Which was captured by the 118 artists from 21 countries who contribute to the 1316 meters of restored wall left that represented such a divide in the country for 28 years (East Side Gallery , 2022). These paintings help mirror the world connected as one through art to symbolize a change for the future. This also is a way Germany has been able to use its urbanized environment to showcase the need and want to help “Save our Earth”. By sustainable transforming the Berlin Wall into an open-air gallery, it has made a remarkable impact on the world to show that there must be a remembrance of the past in order for growth in the future.

         As the “Birth of Kachinas” is viewed by more than 3 million visitors each year, they can interpret the mural based on their thoughts to be able to connect them with current climate change issues (East Side Gallery Berlin , n.d.). “Save our Earth” written in bold should not end at a first glance but have an impactful meaning to each visitor.




East Side Gallery . (2022). Retrieved from Visit Berlin:

East Side Gallery Berlin . (n.d.). Retrieved from Künstlerinitiative East Side Gallery E.V. :

Google Arts and Culture. (n.d.). East Side Gallery . Retrieved from Google Arts and Culture:

The History of the Kachina Doll. (2019, November 18). Retrieved from Faust Gallery:

Thomas, M. C. (2018). The Ever-Changing Role of the East Side Gallery: The Relationship Between Memorialization and Urban Redevelopment . TRACE: Tennessee Research and Creative Exchange, 1-45.