Spitzweg’s violinist—performing a Serenade—finds himself perched precariously near the top wrung of a ladder, above the rooftops, engaged in song dedicated to an unseen love interest. Central to the composition, the violinist wears a military/band uniform: he is bearded and bespectacled in a blue waistcoat with tails and a blue cap with a short bill. He faces a dimly lit window with a flower pot at its ledge, directing his song, and his attention, to an anonymous lover within. Spitzweg places the musician is in a delicate position, as he makes a risky move, both physically and metaphysically. Beyond this musical scene, the dark grey night sky blends with cathedralesque architecture in the distance. The painting is poetic, musical, and whimsical, much like many of Spitzweg’s compositions.


  • Title: Serenade (Midnight Violin on the Ladder)
  • Creator: Carl Spitzweg
  • Date Created: ca. 1850
  • Location: Germany
  • Physical Dimensions: 9 1/2 x 5 1/4 in.
  • External Link: Grohmann Museum
  • Medium: Oil on Cardboard

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