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Frederick the Great and his Marshals before the Battle of Leuthen

Adolph Menzel1859 - 1861

Alte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Alte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

A group of generals is gathered round Frederick II. Following the defeats that Prussia had already suffered in the Seven Years’ War, the king was giving his generals the option of with drawing from service before the impending, decisive conflict. Indeed, the Battle of Leuthen in 1757, which restored large parts of Silesia to Prussian rule, was to be a turning point in the history of Prussia. Menzel never completed this, his most representative painting of Frederick II, and even scratched certain parts out again. Yet the subtle, earthy-misty tones of the winter’s morning and the graybrown of the officers’ coats with sparse touches of red, hold the picture together despite its fragmented condition. The painting affords some insight into Menzel’s working practices: while some figures exist only as out lines, others are already completely finished.

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Details

  • Title: Frederick the Great and his Marshals before the Battle of Leuthen
  • Creator: Adolph Menzel
  • Date Created: 1859 - 1861
  • Physical Dimensions: w424.0 x h318.0 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Technique and material: Oil on canvas
  • Inv.-No.: A II 839
  • ISIL-No.: DE-MUS-815114
  • External link: Alte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Copyrights: Text: © Prestel Verlag / Alte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, http://www.bpk-images.de
  • Collection: Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Acquired 1905
  • Artist biography: After his father’s death in 1830, Menzel became the owner of a lithographic business in Berlin, where he lived and worked most of his live. As an artist, he lacked substantial artistic education, visiting the University of Arts in Berlin for only 6 months, and was mostly self-taught. In spite of this, he became the most renowned artist in 19th-century Germany. His most important works depict various historic events connected to the life of Frederick the Great, such as the Flute Concert of Frederick the Great at Sanssouci, or other events connected to Prussia.
  • Artist Place of Death: Berlin, Germany
  • Artist Place of Birth: Breslau, Poland
  • Artist Dates: 1815-12-08/1905-02-09

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