Its date points to pertinent periods in history that influenced its meaning, such as the Napoleonic Wars, the impacts of the French insurgency in Germany, and the socio-political aspects that ensued as a result of these.
The work is filled with a texture that sets this landscape scene. The best examples include the way Friedrich painted the mist and clouds, which appear like white wisps throughout the upper two-thirds of the composition.
There is a focus on vertical lines, notably the figure standing upright and looking out over the horizon. This is a clear shape in our view compared to the other shapes in the distance formed by the fog and mountains.
Friedrich depicted a vast landscape, achieved through highlighting, contrasting, and converging colors, textures, and various lines and shapes. These all create the illusion of three-dimensional landscape space, or depth, we see in front of us.
The Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog is over 200 years old, still impacting modern-day viewers, reminding us of age-old truths that seemingly go beyond being human. Even in our contemporary times, this painting has made its way into popular culture, inspiring film posters, adorning book covers, and becoming a popular motif on items like T-shirts.