nationalgalerie berlin

Self-Portrait with Death as a Fiddler (1872). Arnold Böcklin (Swiss, 1827-1901). Oil on canvas. Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin.

Death is playing on the lowest string, tuned to G, which is here the only string on the fiddle. The painter, alert, has paused in his work. According to the story, Böcklin only painted in the figure of Death in response to friends asking him to what he was listening. This relates to the search for the ultimate, and the inspiration drawn from the proximity of death.


           Aristocratic Panache ( Adolph Friedrich Erdmann von Menzel )

“ Adolph von Menzel was born in Breslau in 1815, the son of a headmaster, who soon afterwards founded a lithographic press, in which Adolph worked from the age of fourteen. The family moved to Berlin in 1830 and Adolph Menzel was responsible for supporting it after the untimely death of his father. In 1833-34 Adolph Menzel attended the Royal Academy of Art, where he met the wallpaper manufacturer Carl Heinrich Arnold, who would become a friend and patron. Success as an artist came to Adolph Menzel with a commission from the art dealer and publisher Louis Sachse to create a series of lithographs on Goethe’s “Künstlers Erdenwallen”. In 1834 von Menzel joined the “Younger Artists’ Association”. By then he was working more in oils. In 1838 he was admitted to the “Elder Artists’ Association”. A year later Adolph Menzel was commissioned to illustrate Franz Kugler’s “History of Frederick the Great”. n 1867 Adolph Menzel was decorated with the “Cross of the Légion d'honneur” and awarded a meal for his painting of “Frederick and His Troops at the Battle of Hochkirch”. In 1875 Menzel completed “Steel Rolling-Mill” (Nationalgalerie Berlin). The first comprehensive show of Menzel’s work was mounted in 1884, followed by numerous shows in Germany and abroad. Menzel was an artist who had honor in his own country and abroad during his lifetime: on his seventieth birthday he was given an honorary doctorate from Berlin University. He was made an honorary citizen of the city of Breslau and an honorary member of the St Petersburg Academy. He was later made an honorary citizen of Berlin, given the title of Privy Councillor with the title “Your Excellency” and made a member of the Paris and London Academies.”

Selected Works:

1. Studio Wall

2. Dinner At The Ball

3. A Concert Given by Frederick The Great in Sanssouci Palace

4. Presentation Of Rewards To The Participants of The Festival

5. Ball Given In The New Palace

6. The Choir stalls In The Mainz Cathedral

7. Bilse Concert

8. The Sermon At The Parish

9. Court ball in the Castle Reinsberg