Thursday, August 21, 2008
The Chasseur in the Forest, by Caspar David Friedrich
This is probably my favorite of Caspar David Friedrich's pictures. It shows a French cavalry officer who has lost his horse and is lost in a forest, perhaps in Russia. It is certain that the man will die, helpless and alone.
The cavalry officer was probably handsome, noble and brave. Yet here in this picture he appears so small, puny and helpless. Next to the vastness of the forest, he is utterly impotent. The solitary crow almost appears to be mocking his predicament.
Forests truly are scary places. When I did my short-term mission in Japan, I was in a place surrounded by vast forests. They really are scary. You could walk into those woods and never be seen again.
A lot of the Black Metal music I enjoy conveys the same mood as this picture; that sense of the hostility of the natural landscape.
In a real sense the cosmos is arrayed against man. People often misunderstand the Lord's message at the end of the Book of Job. It is often understood in terms of the complexity of God's plans and thus evil and suffering is understood in those terms. However, it in fact presents the power and complexity of the creation and presents the Lord not controlling those elements but engaged in a struggle against the evil forces within them. The elements of this world, the principalities and powers, are at war with God and His people. The cosmos is a warzone.