The image captures a moment in daily life that bears a resemblance to salvation. The young shepherd must have come a long way before he could quench his thirst. “Man is to become one with the earth,” wrote Egger-Lienz in July 1923 in a letter to his friend Otto Kunz. One could surmise that the painter had, in so little words, summarized his attitude toward life – that our connection to the earth is nothing but implicit and absolute. The curved line of the horizon calls to mind the greater picture, the globe of the earth. The painting was made in Sarentino, South Tyrol, today known as Alto Adige. In the preparatory sketches and in some later versions of this painting, a shepherd’s crook is left lying in the grass on the bottom left of the canvas – an attribute the painter decided to leave out in the final realization. The division of the image into sections of heaven and earth was carried out with the utmost rigor, resulting in a happy harmony between the greenish-blue sky and the ocher earth.


  • Title: Boy at the Spring (The Spring)
  • Creator: Albin Egger-Lienz
  • Date Created: 1923
  • Physical Dimensions: w1250 x h845 cm (Without Frame)
  • Type: Paintings
  • Rights: Leopold Museum, Vienna
  • External Link: https://www.leopoldmuseum.org
  • Technique: Oil on canvas
  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings: Signed below left: Egger Lienz
  • Inv. no.: LM 531

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