Great Landscapes: Karl Friedrich Lessing

The Knife is a sucker for German romantic art. Caspar David Friedrich, Schinkel, Moritz von Schwind, Carl Spitzweg etc, the shrine of this style is probably the Berlin Alte Nationalgallerie, which is housed in a beautiful building, and is perfectly laid out. Worth a visit.

For some reason, Karl Friedrich Lessing had passed me by. Some of this genre is undoubtedly a bit cheesy, and veers off into symbolism, and in the opposite direction, sentimentality. However, Lessing had the technical gifts, and a finely tuned sensibility towards that prereformation Europe of castles and religion that my generation used to see in  children’s storybooks. This sort of taste is something of a nostalgia trip, therefore, but beyond that there is a mystical element of a ‘golden era’ hanging over his works, at least in my brain. Here are three gems, the last of which is the most famous, and perhaps not, strictly speaking, a landscape. In an era when the Crusades are routinely misreported by everyone from Barack Obama down, it’s nice to see such a beautiful evocation of what, perhaps, they were really like.

 Romantische Landschaft mit Klosteranlage , 1834. Came up for auction not long ago
Romantische Landschaft mit Klosteranlage , 1834. Came up for auction in 2011, went for $88,614. A bargain.
Klosterhof im Schnee, 1828. Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud
Klosterhof im Schnee, 1828. Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud

 

The return of the Crusader, 1835. Rheinisches Landesmuseum Bonn
Heimkehrender Kreuzritter, 1835. Rheinisches Landesmuseum Bonn

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s