Cultured Wednesday: Spitzweg’s Begegnung im Walde

A pleasant meeting in the forest is at the center of our choice of painting for today.

Today, Carl Spitzweg is the object of interest, painter of the period commonly referred to as Biedermeier.  The featured image might very well be a self portrait of the painter, but for a closer look, we chose his “Meeting in the Forest”.

Begegnung im Walde (A Woodland Meeting), c. 1860

Biedermeier” is used primarily to refer to an artistic era in Central Europe between 1815 and 1848.  It appealed by and large to the growing middle class of the time.   The painter Carl Spitzweg, who was born in a small village near Munich, Germany on 5 February 1808 and died 23 September 1885 in Munich, traveled extensively at some point in his live, but resided in southern Germany for the most part, and so many of his paintings show Alpine landscapes and scenes.  The one we chose is a forest scene as well, although the forest in question could be the Black Forest as well as the Harz Mountains or any other.

The two people meeting in the woods are described as a hunter and a dairy maid, who is apparently in the woods to fetch water.  It is quite obvious that the two know each other well and like each other:  Just look at the smile on the huntsman’s face!  He is obviously enjoying himself, and from the way the lady is standing, I am assuming she is as well.

What we find appealing about Spitzweg is how he pays attention to detail even when the people in his paintings are small because towering mountains or high trees take the center stage.  Just look at the two people meeting in Begegnung im Walde, how the painter paid attention to her hairdo and to the folds of their clothing, and how the hunter’s face shows unmistakable mirth.  To add to the light and gay atmosphere, the vegetation around the two people is dotted with light, giving the whole scene a beautiful liveliness which is further stressed by the merrily running water.  And if you look closely, you can spot a little bird high in the trees behind them. 


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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