During his late period, Blechen painted a series of forest and swamp landscapes in which he picked up the mysteriously dark, fantastic natural scenery of his Romantic early work. Surrounded by the impenetrable density of a forest, a young peasant woman carrying a bundle of hay stands on a small wooden bridge. A storm has left behind numerous puddles and pools of water on the muddy ground. Gloomy branches hang down from massive tall trees; tree trunks against the light bend over a watercourse. The painting’s three vanishing points make the forest interior look like the nave and two aisles of a basilica. Only a few individual rays of light penetrate the cathedral-like vault of dense foliage and scatter restlessly among the deep shadows of the forest. Blechen used the tension of contrasts between light and dark to give this picturesque scene dramatic highlights. As the central focus of the light, the sunlit figure of the woman corresponds to the bright window formed by a clearing that affords a view of a Gothic church surrounded by water.


  • Title: Forest path near Spandau
  • Creator: Carl Blechen
  • Date Created: around 1835
  • Physical Dimensions: w101.5 x h73.0 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Technique and material: Oil on canvas
  • Inv.-No.: A I 458
  • 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 / Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Jörg P. Anders
  • Collection: Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Artist biography: Carl Blechen was a German landscape painter. After an apprenticeship as a banker, Blechen started his art studies at the Academy of Arts in Berlin in 1822. He made various study tours within Germany and spent some time in Italy before becoming a professor at the Academy of Arts in Berlin in 1835. The well known architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel appreciated his works and strongly recommended him for the post. Blechen repudiated Romanticism and was an exponent of a new realism. Considered a pioneer for his brilliant effects of light and colour, many of his paintings are distinguished by their brightness, rendered with a lightness of touch. 'View of Assisi' (1832–35) and 'Palm House on the Pfaueninsel near Potsdam' (1832–34) are among his most famous compositions.
  • Artist Place of Death: Berlin, Germany
  • Artist Place of Birth: Cottbus, Germany
  • Artist Dates: 1798-07-29/1840-07-23

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