A Swan Among the Reeds, by Moonlight

Carl Gustav Carus9/18/1852

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

Carl Gustav Carus was a close friend and follower of fellow German Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich and absorbed his stirring elegiac nature imagery. Just as in Friedrich's paintings, the moon in this drawing symbolizes impending death. The swan, about to take flight, evokes the soul's taking leave of the body. Carus drew this as a birthday present for his daughter Clara as she lay ill with the typhus that would take her life three months later.

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  • Title: A Swan Among the Reeds, by Moonlight
  • Creator: Carl Gustav Carus
  • Date: 9/18/1852
  • Location Created: Germany
  • Physical Dimensions: 22.8 x 19.1 cm (9 x 7 1/2 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Charcoal with white gouache heightening on brown paper laid down on thin board
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Signature: Signed and dated on an attached piece of paper: "Zum 11. Septbr. 1852. Carus"
  • Object Type: Drawing
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 2013.41
  • Display Location: Currently on view at: Getty Center, Museum West Pavilion, Gallery W106
  • Department: Drawings
  • Culture: German
  • Classification: Drawings


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