Innenraum Dom St. Nikolai

St. Nicholas’ Cathedral

Caspar David Friedrich was baptised in the centrally located St. Nicholas’ Cathedral on 7 September 1774, two days after his birth in his parents’ house in Lange Straße, Thus the christening party certainly didn’t have to walk far. The parish registration can still be viewed (by advance reservation) in the Cathedral today.

St. Nicholas’ Cathedral was built between 1250 and 1410 and is of special importance to Caspar David Friedrich and his family for a number of reasons: his parents, Gottlieb Adolf Friedrich and Sophie Dorothea Bechly from Neubrandenburg, were married here in January 1765, after their move to Greifswald. The Cathedral with its almost 100-metre tower is Greifswald’s most prominent landmark. Together with the city’s other two churches, St. Mary’s and St. Jacob’s, it defines the impressive silhouette of the historic Hanseatic city, which Friedrich famously depicted in his paintings ‘Meadows near Greifswald’ (1820/22, Hamburger Kunsthalle) and ‘Greifswald in Moonlight’ (1816, Oslo, National Gallery). In his oil painting ‘Garden Bower in Greifswald’ (1818, Neue Pinakothek, Munich), St. Nicholas’ Cathedral takes centre stage, its Gothic architecture more pronounced and its tower and pinnacles elongated.

From 1823 to 1832, the Cathedral’s interior was redesigned under the direction of Friedrich’s companion, the painter and architect Johann Gottlieb Giese (1787 – 1838).
The complete interior was plastered and given a coat of sandstone-coloured paint. The chancel was redesigned to accommodate a choir. Friedrich’s youngest brother, the carpenter Christian Joachim Friedrich (1779 – 1843), was entrusted with the woodwork (pews, pulpit, panelling of the organ loft). It can be assumed that Caspar David’s ideas and drafts of redesigns of church interiors found their way into the work that his younger brother carried out in St. Nicholas’ Cathedral.