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The Granite Dish in the Berlin Lustgarten

Erdmann Hummel1831

Alte Nationalgalerie, National Museums in Berlin
Alte Nationalgalerie, National Museums in Berlin

There are two levels of meaning to the painting of the granite dish as seen in 1831 on a slightly raised podium in the Lustgarten. At first sight Hummel — a Biedermeier painter who was often known as “Perspective Hummel” — is simply chronicling the temporary erection of the massively heavy, highly polished dish from the factory of the industrialist Cantian, thereby proudly depicting an outstanding technical achievement of his day. And yet at the same time Hummel is parodying the age of the Industrial Revolution he admired so much, showing Cantian representing industry and an uhlan cavalryman representing the state — small and distorted, upside down on the underside of the dish — while the rest of the populace of Berlin are literally standing on their heads, from petit-bourgeois to grand lady in a poke bonnet.

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Details

  • Title: The Granite Dish in the Berlin Lustgarten
  • Creator: Erdmann Hummel
  • Date: 1831
  • Style: Biedermeier
  • Rights: Text: © Prestel Verlag / Alte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin Photo: �� b p k - Photo Agency / Alte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Provenance: Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Physical Dimensions: w89.0 x h66.0 cm
  • Artist information: Erdmann Hummel was a German painter. From 1780 to 1792 he studied at the Academy of Art in Kassel before travelling to Italy, where he stayed for several years and became friends with a number of German landscape painters. He mainly executed works with mystical subjects during this period. He later moved to Berlin and worked as an illustrator. He also created copper engravings and portraits. His art is characterized by precision and strongly foreshortened compositions. In 1809 he was appointed professor to the Academy of Art in Berlin. Among his best known works is Granite Bowl in the Lustgarten in Berlin (1831).
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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