Oehme, a pupil of Caspar David Friedrich’s, stayed faithful to his teacher’s themes and motifs all his life, but never aspired to the same spiritual heights. He was fired by enthusiasm for the days when knights roamed the land, the emotions aroused by twilight and night-time, and dramatic lighting conditions. Sharing the same enthusiasms, Carl Borromäus von Miltitz had restored a fortress once inhabited by his ancestors, which was situated between Dresden and Meißen. After 1812 he gathered a circle of Romantic artists there. Their dream is symbolized in the shape of the knight on horseback springing towards the newly revived fortress. Thus the carefully executed, topographically exact Burg Scharfenberg constitutes an amalgamation of a realistic view and a Romantic landscape. It seems that Oehme had already drawn this same fortress from memory in Rome in 1824. His friend Ludwig Richter described the (now lost) pen-and-ink drawing in his memoirs: “An old castle with high Renaissance gables, looking out from among ancient, leafless oak trees and showing a row of festively lit windows.”


  • Title: Burg Scharfenberg at Night
  • Creator: Ernst Ferdinand Oehme
  • Date Created: 1827
  • Physical Dimensions: w83.0 x h59.5 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Technique and material: Oil on canvas
  • Inv.-No.: G 17/57
  • ISIL-No.: DE-MUS-815114
  • External link: Alte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Copyrights: Text: © Prestel Verlag / Alte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Photo: © b p k - Photo Agency / Alte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Andres Kilger
  • Collection: Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Artist biography: Ernst Ferdinand Oehme was a German Romantic painter. After having teaching himself how to paint he was accepted by the Dresden academy of arts in 1819, where he worked under Johan Christian Clausen Dahl. His master introduced him to Caspar David Friedrich who subsequently exerted a great influence on his compositions. Together with Johann August Heinrich, another of Friedrich’s students, he devoted himself to studies of the country surrounding Dresden. Later on, he distanced himself from Friedrich’s style and began to paint more realistic and less symbolic landscapes. Among his most valued artworks are 'Burg Scharfenberg at Night' (1827) and 'Procession in the Fog' (1828).
  • Artist Place of Death: Dresden, Germany
  • Artist Place of Birth: Dresden, Germany
  • Artist Dates: 1797-04-23/1855-04-10

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