Artibus et Historiae no. 46 (XXIII)

2002, ISSN 0391-9064

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HELMUT BĂ–RSCH-SUPAN - Karl Friedrich Schinkel's "View on the Bank of the Spree River in Stralau"

In his painting View on the Bank of the Spree River in Stralau, done in 1817 for the field marshal count of Gneisenau, Karl Friedrich Schinkel had considerably modified an earlier version of the painting, done already in 1813, in order to make it more suitable for the recipient's mentality and character and convey the air of resignation that dominated Count Gneisenau at that time.

The composition is rigid and the atmosphere as melancholic as in no other of Schinkel's paintings. Between 1813 and 1817 took place the victory of Prussia over Napoleon, but also the disappointment because of lacking will to undertake reforms in the country.

No other private person had possessed so many paintings by Schinkel as Gneisenau. Only three paintings of the six once owned by him survived. One can, however, gain an idea of how two of the lost paintings looked like from existing preparatory sketches and drawings.

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