Lines and Colors art blog

Eye Candy for Today: Karl Spitzweg’s Childhood Friends

Childhood Friends Karl Spitzweg
Childhood Friends, Karl Spitzweg

Link is to zoomable version on Google Art Project, downloadable file on Wikimedia Commons, original is in the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich.

I love the illustrative qualities in the piece — the theatrical lighting, the narrative element and the caricaturish portrayal of the old friends, shown in an apparent reunion after one has gone off to see the world, and the other has stayed at home.

The way Spitzweg has used value contrasts — dark against light and light against dark — along with atmospheric perspective and color accents, to guide your eye is particularly nice.

Childhood Friends, Google Art Project


2 responses to “Eye Candy for Today: Karl Spitzweg’s Childhood Friends”

  1. Ælle Avatar

    One translation mentions school-day-friends.

    In the late 1930s an art forgery case in Germany involved 54 paintings which had been passed off as Spitzweg originals. They had been painted by a Traunstein copyist named Toni who worked from reproductions and picture postcards. Toni signed the works with his own name as “after Spitzweg”, but fraudsters later removed his name and artificially aged the paintings in order to sell them as originals. At the Stuttgart Criminal Court Assizes the conspirators were jailed for up to ten years for the swindle.

    1. Thanks, Ælle. Shows something about the appeal and value of Spitzweg’s paintings.