Cultured Wednesday: Christian E. B. Morgenstern

Morgenstern the Painter is regarded as one of the pioneers in Germany of early Realism in painting.

Christian Ernst Bernhard Morgenstern (1805 – 1867), grandfather of the poet Christian Otto Josef Wolfgang Morgenstern (1871 – 1914), was a German landscape painter.  Since he was born in Hamburg, many of his paintings show northern German, or northern European landscapes, like the one above titled “Blick zum Brocken” (“View towards the Brocken”, see the uncropped painting at the end of the post), which is the highest mountain in the Harz mountains.  Here is one entitled “Buchen – Frederiksdal bei Kopenhagen” (“Beeches – Frederiksdal near Copenhagen”):


Morgenstern the Painter is regarded as one of the pioneers in Germany of early Realism in painting.  Incidentally, both his father and his son were painters as well.  Painting really must run in a family, much like music does, given what we know about the Moran’s, or the Bach’s.  Did you know that the last name “Bach” used to be a synonym for “musician” in Thuringia back in the day?  You could have said “He is a real Bach!” in praise of a musician, and everybody would have known what you meant.  But back to Morgenstern (which translates morning star, by the way) and his paintings.  Here’s Heligoland in the moonlight:

Helgoland im Mondlicht (1851)

Morgenstern was highly regarded in his lifetime, something that wasn’t granted to his poet grandson.  And small wonder it is, given how beautiful his paintings are with regards to composition, colors and choice of landscape.  Here is a landscape at dusk:

Abendlandschaft (1848)

He must have had a special liking for moonlit scenes, and the little island of Heligoland as well as the river that runs through his native Hamburg, the Elbe.  Note how busy the river must have been (already) at the end of the 19th century:

Mondaufgang über der Elbe (probably 1864)

Lastly, a scene at the beach of the Northern Sea.  The coast there is lined with dunes where it is not diked in.  Note how almost all of Morgenstern’s painting contain people as part of the landscape rather than the main focus of the painting.

Dünen an der Nordsee (1853)

Maybe I enjoy his art so much because I grew up in northern Germany, so the places he painted are familiar to me, and he portrays them with such a loving hand.  Hope you enjoy his paintings as much as we do!

Blick zum Brocken (1829)

Author: Anne

~ In the right order of nature, the flesh is subject to the spirit and not the reverse. ~ The Cloud of Unknowing

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