A Swan Among the Reeds, by Moonlight

Object Details

Title:

A Swan Among the Reeds, by Moonlight

Artist/Maker:

Carl Gustav Carus (German, 1789 - 1869)

Culture:

German

Place:

Germany (Place created)

Date:

September 18, 1852

Medium:

Charcoal with white gouache heightening on brown paper laid down on thin board

Object Number:

2013.41

Dimensions:

22.8 × 19.1 cm (9 × 7 1/2 in.)

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Carl Gustav Carus was a close friend and follower of fellow German Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich and absorbed his stirring elegiac nature imagery. Just as in Friedrich's paintings, the moon in this drawing symbolizes impending death. The swan, about to take flight, evokes the soul's taking leave of the body. Carus drew this as a birthday present for his daughter Clara as she lay ill with the typhus that would take her life three months later.

Exhibitions
Zeitgeist: Art from the Germanic World, 1800-1900 (February 10 to May 17, 2015)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), February 10 to May 17, 2015