A shepherd boy resting on a rock is sleeping lightly. His limbs seem slack: his left arm has sunk down, the right is draped loosely around his crook, his legs are set one in front of the other in a relaxed manner, his head is resting forwards on his chest. This interplay produces many intriguingly different views, and yet the expression of the boy’s dreamy isolation from the out-side world is equally strong from all angles. When the figure was first shown in 1873, it was a huge success by virtue of its seemingly classical serenity, its new-fashioned, generalizing treatment of the human form (without painstaking naturalism), and its outstanding sculptural technique. Conrad Fiedler, a friend of Hildebrand’s, wrote that the latter’s works expressed only what was “purely and genuinely artistic, they are simply true, unfalsified works of art, and that is what separates them from all the rest of contemporary, so-called artistic activity."


  • Title: Resting Shepherd Boy
  • Creator: Adolf von Hildebrand
  • Date Created: 1871/1873
  • Physical Dimensions: w68.0 x h105.0 x d106.0 cm
  • Type: Sculpture
  • Technique and material: Marble
  • Inv.-No.: B I 175
  • 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: Adolf von Hildebrand was a German sculptor. He studied in Nuremberg from 1862 to 1866, after which he served as an apprentice in the Munich workshop of Caspar von Zumbusch until 1867. He later travelled to Rome where he met Hans von Marées and Konrad Fiedler. The time in Italy significantly informed his style and his artworks are markedly influenced by the Italian Renaissance. Besides this Neoclassical, Mediterranean influence, his sculptures are characterized by clear and graceful contours that are stripped down to everything but the purest details. He mainly depicted the human form and became the leading artist of his day in monumental statues. He was of the opinion that there is an optimal viewing angle for every composition. This point of view was subsequently echoed in the art theoretical writings of his time.
  • Artist Place of Death: Munich, Germany
  • Artist Place of Birth: Marburg, Germany
  • Artist Dates: 1847-10-06/1921-01-18

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