On the influence of Friedrich on Samuel Beckett's work
Excerpted from William Vaughan, 'Friedrich':
'Perhaps the most surprising and intriguing of connections of that time is that of Friedrich to the Irish existential playwright Samuel Beckett. Beckett toured Germany in 1936, where he was greatly impressed with the works by Friedrich that he saw on view.
'In this way this is ironic since the prominence of Friedrich in German galleries at this time was for the purpose of promoting Nazi ideology. But Beckett could respond - as Kleist had before him - to the searing loneliness conveyed by Friedrich, to the anxiety that lay behind all that staring into the distance. When in Dresden, Beckett was particularly struck by 'Two Men Contemplating the Moon'. He confessed 'a pleasant predilection for two tiny languid men in his landscapes, as in the little moon landscape, that is the only kind of romantic still tolerable, the bémolisé [in a minor key]. Later he made clear that it was this image that formed the visual source for his most famous play, 'Waiting for Godot' (1953). He specifically drew attention to this fact when in Berlin in the 1050s, arranging for a performance of the work. The situation in Beckett's play, that of two tramps holding a half-slapstick dialogue in a barren landscape beneath a dead tree, can certainly be seen as having a parodic connection to Friedrich's pair of contemplative dissidents.'