Arts & Culture

The Prodigal Son Living with Harlots

Johann Wolfgang Baumgartner1724-1761

Statens Museum for Kunst
Statens Museum for Kunst

In Baumgartners painting depicting the biblical tale, the Prodigal Son does not yet know that he is lost. Engrossed with the charms of women, wine, and music he pays no heed to the dark side of debauchery.

In his small oil painting depicting the biblical tale about the prodigal son Baumgartner not only used the rocaille as a frame, but as a motif in itself. The rocaille, a type of ornament typical of the Rococo, winds its way into the architectural setting of the scene, dissolving stone niches and intermingling with the food of the balustrade. As a child of the waves, sister to the seashell and twin to the corals the rocaille feels right at home within Baumgartner’s pastel-hued universe where the prodigal son does not yet know that he is lost. Engrossed with the charms of women, wine, and music he pays no heed to the dark side of debauchery.

Johann Wolfgang Baumgartner’s career was nothing if not versatile. First he was apprenticed as a blacksmith, then as a glass painter and a muralist. Posterity knows him as a creator of large-scale decorative work for churches where frescoes merge seamlessly with the Rococo architecture of the altarpieces. Baumgartner was also a prolific supplier of drawn and painted images for the major printmakers in the city of Augsburg. These printmakers issued many series depicting edifying biblical tales such The Prodigal Son, or calendars featuring some of the countless martyrs of Christianity.

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Details

  • Title: The Prodigal Son Living with Harlots
  • Creator: Johann Wolfgang Baumgartner
  • Date Created: 1724-1761
  • Værktekst: I Baumgartners maleri fra den bibelske historie ved den fortabte søn endnu ikke at han er fortabt. Opslugt af kvinders charme, vin og musik, hverken hører eller ser han svirens bagside. Baumgartner har i sit lille oliemaleri med den bibelske historie om den fortabte søn ikke alene gjort rocaillen til indramning, men også til motiv i sig selv. Rocaillen, som er et typisk rokoko-ornament, slynger sig ind i scenens arkitektoniske kulisse, opløser stennicher og blander sig med balustradens fodstykke. Som barn af bølgen, muslingens søster og korallernes tvilling føler rocaillen sig hjemme i Baumgartners pastelfarvede univers, hvor den fortabte søn endnu ikke ved, at han er fortabt. Opslugt af kvinders charme, vin og musik, hverken hører eller ser han svirens bagside. Johann Wolfgang Baumgartners karriere var alsidig. Først var han i lære som smed, siden som glasmaler og muralmaler. For eftertiden er han kendt som opfinder af store kirkelige udsmykninger, hvor væggenes freskoudmalinger går i ét med altertavlens rokoko-ornamenterede arkitektur. Baumgartner var tillige en meget flittig leverandør af tegnede og malede forlæg til de store kobberstikforlag i byen Augsburg. Herfra udgik serier med opbyggelige bibelske historier som Den fortabte søn, eller kalendere med kristendommens utallige martyrer.
  • Teknik: Olie på lærred
  • Proveniens: Køb 1966
  • Provenance: Acquired 1966
  • Physical Dimensions: w38 x h27.8 cm (Without frame)
  • Dansk link: http://www.smk.dk/index.php?id=2669
  • Dansk Titel: Den fortabte søn i selskab med kurtisaner
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Statens Museum for Kunst, http://www.smk.dk/en/copyright/creative-commons/
  • External Link: Statens Museum for Kunst
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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