A highly important letter by the great German Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich, written just after the stroke which greatly diminished his abilities as an artist. In this letter, Friedrich describes in detail the stroke and its effects. "I have been ill for more than three weeks and since I was not able to get up at all I had to stay in bed for two weeks. It was as if I had been suddenly overcome by a stroke—perhaps it really was one. My tongue seemed to be paralyzed and my speech became slurred, but now this has improved. My right arm and especially my right leg became useless, but now I can limp the length of my room with the help of a cane. Time will tell whether I will learn to walk normally again—my leg has not improved in the last three days at all.
"Your kind letter … has given me the opportunity to do something useful, since the clumsiness of my right hand will keep me from painting at my easel for some time. All the above mentioned things will be explanation enough when you look at the messiness of the enclosed sketches." Friedrich then goes on to give Röder instructions for having a carpenter build various pieces of furniture, asking that the back of a window-seat he has designed be raised to avoid the draught.
Freidrich was 61 when he suffered his stroke on 26 June 1853. He resumed painting at the end of the year, but work displayed a weakened hand. Shortly before his stroke, Friedrich completed the prophetic painting "A Walk at Dusk" (J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles), in which the artist himself stands contemplating a prehistoric rock tomb on the island of Rügen. This letter provides the only know detailed description of his stroke and its effects.
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