Museum Folkwang
  • Drawings of the 19th Century – Composed Reality around 1800

  • From the second half of the 19th century, an increasing number of drawings depicted a geographically definable landscape. For example, the Swiss artist Arian Zingg, who had been working at the Dresden Kunstakademie since 1766, repeatedly explored the Saxon Switzerland, at the time still completely undeveloped, to Dresden in order to draw. Elsewhere as well, Zingg made drawings directly from nature, which he noted expressly with »delineavit ad naturam« (drawn after nature), for instance on the pen and ink drawings ›Boulders on the Water‹ or ›Landscape with Cows and a Cloister‹ from 1786 and 1789.

    This increasing use of observed landscapes did not, however, mean giving up traditional principles of depiction and composition. Adrian Zingg described such rules and methods in his ›Anfangsgründen für Landschaftszeichner‹ from 1808 – as series of etched model sheets intended to serve as examples for beginners – from detail studies of individual blades of grass and leaves, combinations of various plants to complete compositions.

    As Zingg expressly encouraged beginners to draw using his models at first and only then to draw after nature, he imposed his own stylistic position on young artists, something criticized by Ludwig Richter, one of Zingg’s students at the Dresden Kunstakademie: »We were enveloped by a dead manner, like all Zinggianer, we were so schooled in a mountain of rules and stereotypical forms and formulas that a vivid feeling for nature, a real and simple observation and capturing of things could not arise, or at least not be expressed.«

    Especially Adrian Zingg’s topographical views are characterized by this ambivalence between trueness to nature and to detail on the one hand and their maintaining classical principles of composition on the other. His view of ›Pillnitz Castle‹, in spite of its precise depiction of the castle on the other bank of the Elbe, shows a classical pictorial construction with the foreground defined by a shaded, asymmetrical repoussoir, changing quickly to a lighter zone which in turn leads to another shaded area. Such an alteration of lighter and darker zones was the preferred mean of creating the impression of great spatial depth. The picturesque vegetation in the foreground is also, undeniably, not the result of concrete observation, but follows the depiction schemes which Zingg himself illustrated in his ›Anfangsgründen für Landschaftszeichner‹. This is equally true of ›View of St. Blasien in the Schwarzwald‹ and ›Landscape with Cows and a Cloister‹.

    Jakob Philipp Hackert’s large format sepia drawing ›The Cave of St. Francis‹ from 1800 of Mount Verna in the Etruscan Apennines and which served as a model for Hackert’s painting in the Museum Folkwang’s collection, is also distinguished by such a parallel of realistic depiction and artistic remodelling, as can be seen in, for instance, the picturesque wild grove of trees above the cave. A similar monumentality artistically remodelling the real situation characterizes Caspar David Friedrich’s sepia drawing ›Rock Arch in Uttewalder Grund‹, made at the same time, with Friedrich employing especially the contrast of light between the darkness of the steeply cut gorge on the one hand and the lightness of the elevated sections lit by the son on the other as his major principle of composition.
  • Exh_Title_S: Drawings of the 19th Century – Composed Reality around 1800
  • Exh_Id: 614
  • Exh_Comment_S (Verantw): Department of Prints and Drawings
  • Exh_SpareNField01_N (Verantw ID): 186
Landschaft mit Kühen und einem Kloster
Schloss Pillnitz
Ansicht von St. Blasien im Schwarzwald
Die Franziskushöhle
Das Felsentor im Uttewalder Grund
Schloß und Dorf Stoessitz
Gartenseite von Schloss Stoessitz
Felsblöcke am Wasser