In a lush landscape featuring both ruins and mountains, a despondent Don Quixote realises he is lost. Like his chivalric heroes, the adventurous knight and his faithful squire Sancho Panza have halted at a crossroads to consider which way to go. Don Quixote glances at Sancho Panza with a somewhat despairing look. With an outstretched hand, the squire attempts to help the indecisive and idealistic knight to see reason. Using the crossroads as his subject, Wilhelm Marstrand sought to illustrate a symbolic scene representing the dilemmas and crises that constantly surround Cervantes’ tragicomic hero. Sancho Panza appears as the sensible companion who attempts – in vain – to keep Don Quixote within the boundaries of reality.
About the artist:
Marstrand was among C.W. Eckersberg’s students and was, as the only one, very interested in narrative and illustrative painting. Marstrand worked with genre painting, literary subjects, portraiture and, in later years, history painting. He was frequently employed as a portraitist and painted a series of portraits of members of the Hage family, among others. Marstrand travelled throughout his life in the larger European countries such as Italy, France, Germany and England. He was particularly fascinated by Italy, where he stayed for several years. From here, he became a major producer of peculiar, touching, and often humorous or ironic depictions of the Italian folk life that so fascinated him.