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Female figure (blowing bubbles), as allegory of Christian Peter Wilhelm Beuth, riding Pegasus over an industrial city

Karl Friedrich Schinkel1837

Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Berlin, Germany

The background of this picture is formed of an expansive industrial landscape, dotted with the squat square forms of factories, blast furnaces, and smoking chimneys, and intersected by a busy canal that serves as a link to the river. In the foreground we discern an entirely different picture, emerging through a funnel-shaped aperture. The gaze is directed towards a corner of Beuth’s study, where we see a pile of files containing the records of both the Trade and Industry Association and the Association of Berlin Artists. Floating above this ‘think-tank’ is a female figure seated atop Pegasus, blowing bubbles as she flies. Like the light glowing in Beuth’s study, the woman symbolizes the power of inspiration. Begotten of this creative spirit, the group of allegorical figures seems to be lifted up by thermals, rising on the heat from below – a motif that Schinkel may well have known from the Pinetti Theatre. During the directorship of Johann Carl Enslen from 1796, this theatre gave rise to a number of performances that included ‘aerostatic acts’, one of which was called the ‘Rider’ on Pegasus (illustrated in Schulze Altcappenberg 2012). Schinkel’s picture of Pegasus is thus multilayered, employing themes and motifs that draw upon a variety of historical and cultural sources: from ancient mythology to visualizations of the future, from technical theatre productions to depictions of the human spirit.

Details

  • Title: Female figure (blowing bubbles), as allegory of Christian Peter Wilhelm Beuth, riding Pegasus over an industrial city
  • Creator: Karl Friedrich Schinkel
  • Date: 1837
  • Physical Dimensions: w35.9 x h37.4 cm
  • Type: Drawing
  • Medium: Watercolour, over preliminary drawing in graphite / paper (wove)
  • Inv.-No.: SM 54.12 = KdZ 27498
  • ISIL no.: DE-MUS-018511
  • External Link: Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Copyright: Photo © bpk - Photo Agency / Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz / Jörg P. Anders │ Text © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz / Heinrich Schulze Altcappenberg
  • Collection: Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz
  • Artist Place of Death: Berlin
  • Artist Place of Birth: Neuruppin
  • Artist Gender: Male
  • Artist Dates: 13.3.1781 - 9.10.1841

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