The Potsdam railway line was opened after five years’ work in 1838, that is to say during the pioneering years of this new means of transport, which furnished Menzel throughout his life with subjects for his paintings and drawings. As may be seen from an earlier drawing of 1845, at first Menzel was only interested in the sharp curve of the tracks through the countryside which was disturbed by the arrival of transport technology. In the painted version, he added the locomotive with its string of cars, filling the air with grey smoke.


  • Title: The Berlin-Potsdam Railway
  • Creator: Adolph Menzel
  • Date Created: 1847
  • Physical Dimensions: w52.0 x h42.0 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Technique and material: Oil on canvas
  • Inv.-No.: A I 643
  • 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: 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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