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Karl Friedrich Schinkel

(1781 Neuruppin – 1841 Berlin)

Das Schloss Prediama in Crein XII Stund: von Triest. Steindruck von Fr. Klinsmann in Berlin. Nach der Natur und mit der Feder auf Stein gezeichnet von Schinkel. 1816. Lithograph on yellowish wove paper, on a contemporary mount. 39.3 x 31.1 cm. Grisebach 1924, p. 193; Dussler 6; Winkler 9; Börsch-Supan, Exhibit. Catalogue Karl Friedrich Schinkel, Berlin, Schloss Charlottenburg 1981, 186. 

The detailed and carefully arranged composition of this lithograph, which ranks among Schinkel’s most important prints, is based on a large-format drawing executed by the artist in 1803, which formed part of the artist’s estate. From Triest, the first stop on his Italian journey, Schinkel undertook an excursion to Aquileia and Prediama and was profoundly inspired by the rugged cave landscape and the picturesque location of the castle, as the lengthy entry in his travel diary indicates.

The close symbiosis between the mediaeval architecture and the sublime, austere mountain vastness was in complete accord with Schinkel’s Romantic perception of nature and inspired the artist to elaborate this magnificent invention. The lithograph has been executed in an extremely precise, painstaking technique which brilliantly conveys the different textures of trees, rock, and masonry. Just as masterly are Schinkel’s narrative touches. Cleverly arranged anecdotal details, such as the wild surge of water on the millwheel in the left foreground, enliven the scene and add elements of dramatic tension. Just below the centre we espy four men cautiously balancing on a narrow footbridge before they proceed, armed with a torch, to explore the labyrinth of caves. A mighty mass of rock towers over the castle, casting a dark shadow across its walls and symbolizing the uncontrollable forces of nature.

An extremely fine, sharp and crisp early impression with the double borderline, minimally trimmed – as is often the case – in the lower text margin; on a possibly contemporary mount. Minor repairs in the left white margin, otherwise in excellent condition. 

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