Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Idyllic, petit bourgeois, cosy, "gemütlich", mostly harmless and quite tongue-in-cheek - Carl Spitzweg

"Ein jeder Mensch ist PatientUnd eigens zu behandeln,Doch schmecken die Rezept' am End'Fast all' nach bittern Mandeln!"
(Every human being is a patient / to be treated in his own special fashion / but in the end almost all recipes / taste like bitter almonds. Carl Spitzweg)

Carl Spitzweg: "Der Arme Poet" (1839)


5 February 1805: Today, 205 years ago, Carl Spitzweg was born in Unterpfaffenhofen in Bavaria.

Starting out as an apothecary, he decided to become a professional painter at the age of 25 without any artistic training - and became soon moderately successful, travelled a lot through Europe and created an Oeuvre of more than 1.500 drawings and paintings.

Clinging to the late Romantic and especially "Biedermeier" style, his works depict our imagination of that epoch of peace in the German speaking countries between 1815 and 1848, provincial, quite idyllic, petit bourgeois, cosy, "gemütlich" and mostly harmless - even though Spitzweg painted his scenes rather tongue-in-cheek. He contributed to a couple of satirical magazines as well, used his know-how of chemistry to mix his own colours and reached an almost impressionistic expression towards the end of the period of his works.

The painting above is called "The Poor Poet / Der Arme Poet" (1839) and became an archetypical image of an artist's existence.

Wikimedia has a monographic show of his works on:

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Carl_Spitzweg?uselang=en

and more about "Biedermeier" and Spitzweg on: