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Oil painting - The Foot Bridge

The Foot Bridge

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    Munich (painted)

  • Date:

    1848 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Rosenthal, August, born 1820 (painter (artist))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on canvas

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Rev. Chauncey Hare Townshend

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

August Rosenthal (1820) was born in Hanover but settled in Munich. Very little is known about his training although his paintings demonstrate the influence of the German Romanticism. He died sometimes in the second half of the 19th century probably in Munich.

This painting is a fine example of late Romantic landscapes produced in Munich around 1850. Much of these works involved plein-air painting of landscapes characterised by a high degree of finish in a dark, subdued palette with dramatic effects of colour and light. This type of painting was quite popular with collectors in the second half of the century.

Physical description

Large landscape with a river in the foreground surmounted by a winding path on which small figures are walking away; a house on the left hand-side, a wood in the background under a stormy sky.

Place of Origin

Munich (painted)


1848 (painted)


Rosenthal, August, born 1820 (painter (artist))

Materials and Techniques

Oil on canvas

Marks and inscriptions

'A Rosenthal 1848'
Signed and dated by the artist, lower right; 'A R' in monogram


Height: 34.3 cm estimate, Width: 48.2 cm estimate, :

Object history note

Bequeathed by Rev. Chauncey Hare Townshend, 1868

Historical significance: This painting is typical of the works produced in Germany around 1850. Munich was one of the main artistic centres in Germany, along with Düsseldorf. Germanic art was then dominated by the Romantic movement, notable especially for his symbolic and atmospheric treatment of landscape and focus on the sublime, epitomised in the art of Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840) and Johann Christian Dahl (1788-1857). The present composition was probably inspired by the German countryside but also presents an idealised nature enlivened by the small figures walking on a path, this addition, emulated by the 17th-century Dutch art is typical of the late Romanticism imagery.
A similar composition dated 1851 was sold at Hampel Kunstauktionem, Munich, 4 April 2008, lot 533.
This painting was given by the Rev. Townshend who owns a comprehensive collection of landscape paintings by 19th-century Northern artists.

Historical context note

The word Romanticism derived from the medieval term 'romance' and was first used by the German poets and critics August Wilhelm and Friedrich Schlegel to label a wider cultural movement beginning with the late 18th and ending towards the mid 19th century. Romanticism started first in Western Europe as a literary and philosophical movement and only gradually involved the other arts, explicitly around 1800. Romantic artists were fascinated by nature they interpreted as a mirror of the mind. They investigated human nature and personality, the folk culture, the national and ethnic origins, the medieval era, the exotic, the remote, the mysterious and the occult. The interest in the exotic and the non-Western, illustrated in France by such a painter as Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863), as well as the medieval revival, witnessed in England by Horace Walpole (1717-1797), are perhaps the most identifiable parts of Romanticism. It is really in the Post-Napoleonic period that this movement gained ascendancy. Its greatest proponents were among others Théodore Géricault (1791-1824) and François-René de Chateaubriant (1768-1848) in France, Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) in England, Heinrich Heine (1797-1856) and Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840) in Germany. In the visual arts, it was largely played out by 1850, but in music it persists for another generation.

Descriptive line

Oil painting, 'The Foot Bridge', August Rosenthal, German school, 1848

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Kauffmann, C.M. Catalogue of Foreign Paintings, II. 1800-1900 , London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1973, p. 88, cat. no. 190.


Oil paint; Canvas


Oil painting

Subjects depicted

Path; Storm; House; River; Figures; Wood; Landscape; Sky




Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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