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Oil painting - Snow scene: the haunted house
  • Snow scene: the haunted house
    Libert, Georg Emil, born 1820 - died 1908
  • Enlarge image

Snow scene: the haunted house

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    Munich (probably, made)

  • Date:

    1847 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Libert, Georg Emil, born 1820 - died 1908 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on canvas

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Rev. Chauncey Hare Townshend

  • Museum number:

    1571-1869

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Georg Emil Libert (1820-1908) was born in Copenhagen. He was in Munich in 1846-47 and travelled in Southern Germany and Austria in 1851, 1857 and 1875. He exhibited in Vienna in 1873.

This painting is a fine example of the Romantic imagery which developed in Northern Europe in the 19th century and favoured mysterious landscape characterised by a high degree of finish as well as clear and cool tonality. It shows a frozen river on which are playing three boys and an austere manor in the mid-distance. Dated 1847, this composition was made shortly after Libert went to Munich where sojourned a group of Romantic painters under the influence of Caspar David Friedrich. This type of compositions was quite popular and attracted the collectors' interest during the second half of the century.

Physical description

A frozen river on which are playing three boys and an austere manor in the mid-distance, two small figures standing on the edge of the river at right, trees and distant mountains in the background.

Place of Origin

Munich (probably, made)

Date

1847 (made)

Artist/maker

Libert, Georg Emil, born 1820 - died 1908 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Oil on canvas

Marks and inscriptions

'G. Emil Libert 1847'
Signed and dated by the artist, lower right

Dimensions

Height: 24 cm estimate, Width: 34 cm estimate, Weight: 4 kg with frame, Height: 39.2 cm frame, Width: 48.8 cm frame, :

Object history note

Bequeathed by Rev. Chauncey Hare Townshend, 1868

Historical significance: This painting is an early and smaller version of a composition made in 1848 in Munich (see 1573-1869). It is unclear whether 1571-1869 was a preparatory study for the larger painting or a previous version of a composition that proved popular. This painting is darker in tones than 1573-1869.
This landscape, which combines a genre scene reminiscent of the 17th-century Dutch wintry compositions, and a landscape, is a typical example of the mysterious albeit harmonious paintings favoured by Scandinavian artists under the influence of the German David Caspar Friedrich (1774-1840) and his pupil the Norwegian Johann Christian Dahl (1788-1857), with whom he may have been in contact when he came to Munich in 1845-46.
The high degree of finish and clear tones along with an interest in atmospheric effects such as the sunset light are characteristic of the Romantic movement. The Romantic artists focused on the fragility of humankind against the omnipotent nature, which is here well illustrated by the boys playing on the frozen river under a wide stormy sky.
This painting was bequeathed by the Rev. Townshend who owned a large collection of 19th-century landscape and genre paintings.

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, 'Snow Scene: the Haunted House', Georg Emil Libert, Danish school, 1847

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

Kauffmann, C.M., Catalogue of Foreign Paintings, II. 1800-1900 , London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1973, p. 65, cat. no. 141.

Materials

Oil paint; Canvas

Techniques

Oil painting

Subjects depicted

Manor; Genre scene; Snow; Landscape; Supernatural; Boys; River; Figures

Categories

Paintings

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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