Eye Candy for Today: Menzel’s Flute Concert

Flute Concert with Frederick the Great in Sanssouci, Adolph Menzel
Flute Concert with Frederick the Great in Sanssouci, Adolph Menzel

Link is to zoomable version on Google Art Project; downloadable file on Wikimedia Commons; original is in the Alte Nationalgalerie, National Museums in Berlin.

The ostensible subject, Frederick the Great — about whom Menzel painted a series of works — is almost lost among the other spectators, and overshadowed by the the striking presence of the soloist. [Correction: turns out I jumped to conclusions based on my lack of background knowledge. The flute player is Frederick the Great. See the comment on this post by Levantine.]

The real star of the painting, though, is the resplendent candlelight cascading down from the crystal chandelier — reflected in the ornate mirror and sweeping through the richly textured composition — where it is echoed by the glow of the individual candles amid the ensemble.

A tour-de-force of interior light.

 
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedin

3 Replies to “Eye Candy for Today: Menzel’s Flute Concert”

  1. Charley Parker: …. The ostensible subject, Frederick the Great — about whom Menzel painted a series of works — is almost lost among the other spectators, and overshadowed by the the striking presence of the soloist……

    I always assumed that Frederick the Great is the flute player.
    I went to Wikipedia, an unreliable source, to check ….

    “The Flute Concert of Sanssouci by Adolph Menzel, 1852, depicts Frederick playing the flute in his music room at Sanssouci. ”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_the_Great#Music.2C_arts_and_learning

    The description continues: “C. P. E. Bach accompanies him on the harpsichord.” Indeed, when we take a second look at the painting, we see the person on the right of the flautist sitting in front of a … harpsichord, with his fingers pressing keys.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *