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Caspar David Friedrich

Caspar David Friedrich, born on the 5th of September 1774, was a German Romantic landscape painter of the 19th century and is, nowadays, regarded as the most important German artist of his generation.

His best-known paintings consist of allegorical landscapes, featuring contemplative figures, silhouettes against night skies, fog, barren trees, as well as Gothic ruins. His chosen subjects prove his interest in the contemplation of nature and his emotional approach towards nature. This approach was highly influenced by the social current in his time, a society which grew disillusioned to the materialism of past generations and sought sense in the focus of spirituality, expressed through images of the natural, “divine” world.

While Friedrich’s master pieces brought him great renown early on in his career, he died in 1840 forgotten, his contemplative nature no longer fitting to a modernising Germany, whose art was characterised by a feeling of urgency.

Only in the 20th century his art was rediscovered being a form of inspiration for Expressionists of the 1920s and Surrealists and Existentialists of the 1930s and 1940s.

However, the rise of the Nazi regime in Germany and their interpretation of his work in a nationalistic context destroyed his popularity and reputation, which could only be restored in the 1970s.

Even today, his paintings are an inspiration for artists all over today, such as the German Rock band Flash Forward, which used an altered version of one of his more famous paintings “Wanderer above the Sea of Fog” (1818) as the cover of their latest album “Revolt”.

Text written in March 2019.

Short bio of the volunteer:

My name is Helen and I am an 18-year-old volunteer from Germany. In my free time, I enjoy singing and playing the guitar, read or spend time with my friends. In my holidays I love visiting foreign places with my family and learn about their history, which is why I am really excited to be a part of the History Tellers project.


Erasmus+ is a programme of the European Commission embracing the fields of education, training, youth and sports during the period 2014-2020. One of the major aspects is the cooperation between the different fields where the programme acts, hence contributing for a diverse and rich Europe.

Amongst the several goals of the programme, the following are prioritised: the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, including the headline education target; the aims of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020), including the corresponding benchmarks; the sustainable development of Partner Countries in the field of higher education; the overall goals of the renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018); the objective of developing the European dimension in sport, in particular grassroots sport, in line with the EU work plan for sport and the promotion of European values in accordance with Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union.

In order to achieve these goals, the Erasmus+ has several action policies. The Key Action 1 (KA1) is directed towards the mobility of people; Key Action 2 (KA2) for the cooperation for innovation and the interchange of good experiences; and Key Action 3 (KA3) which is for the support of reformation policies.

European Voluntary Service

Since 1991 the University of Madeira Students’ Union has developed a wide incentive policy for voluntary work. In 2013 the Students’ Union started the process to receive, send and coordinate Erasmus+ projects of the European Voluntary Service, in order to have a larger influence in the volunteering field. The Union received its first volunteer withing the ambit of a KA1 project in 2014. Many efforts have been done to allow young people from Madeira to take part in several initiatives in Europe, as well as propose several projects allowing young people from several countries to work in the projects of the Students’ Union of the University of Madeira. The main goal of the voluntary work is the contribution of the volunteers to the communities and places they will be staying, being their work not rewarded with payment.

We believe that the European Voluntary Service is a mechanism full of experiences, allowing the approved candidates to have the privilege of taking part in these projects and benefit the places and communities where these volunteers will be staying.

Since 2013, the University of Madeira Students’ Union has received volunteers that have collaborated in several activities and initiatives. Besides being able to enjoy a wonderful experience which will contribute to their personal and professional growth, they are able to contribute in a unique way to the community in which they are inserted and to join dozens of volunteers from the University of Madeira.