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19th Century Art


Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld

Leipzig 1794 – 1872 Dresden

Moses Defends Jethro's Daughters. 1824

Pen and brown ink over pencil on wove paper. 22 × 27 cm. (8 ⅝ × 10 ⅝ in.) Monogrammed (joined) lower left and inscribed in the centre in black pen: JS II. Mose. Cap. 2. v. 17. Dated lower left in brown pen: d. 2 t. August 1824.  [3116]

ProvenanceFormerly collections Alexander Flinsch, Berlin, and Eugen Roth, Munich

EUR 4.000 – 6.000
USD 4,650 – 6,980

Sold for:
18,750 EUR (incl. premium)

Moses schützt die Töchter Jethros

Auction 334Wednesday, 1 December 2021
03:00 PM

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Literature and IllustrationAuction CXI: Handzeichnungssammlung Alexander Flinsch, Berlin. Deutsche Handzeichnungen der ersten Hälfte des XIX. Jahrhunderts [...]. Leipzig, C. G. Boerner, 29./30.11.1912, cat. no. 539 („Moses schützt die Töchter Reguels vor den Hirten und tränkt die Schafe“)

Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, in Rome since 1818, was the driving force among German artists to pursue the project of a jointly illustrated picture Bible with ambition. After initial attempts to work collectively, it was Schnorr who founded the "Composers' Society" in 1824, which met monthly in the Palazzo Caffarelli, the seat of the Prussian legation on the Capitol, discussed the drawn results and assigned new tasks. The aim was to have as many artists as possible deliver compositions for an illustrated edition of the Bible. Thus, in addition to Schnorr, Carl Begas, Heinrich Hess, Friedrich Overbeck, Johann David Passavant, the Veit brothers and, temporarily, Joseph Führich, Carl Oesterley, Eduard von Steinle and other artists belonged to the association. The method of collective work first established in the Viennese Lukasbund was professionalised here. The theme from Genesis 2, 17, which was rare in the 19th century, can be explained by this context: it was the first task set by Johann David Passavant for a composition on the Old Testament. Moses, here still a youthful fire-head, protects the seven daughters of Jethro (or Reguel) from the hostility of the shepherds when they want to draw water; Jethro then gives Moses his daughter Zipporah as a wife. Schnorr's drawing is typical of his first compositions, which he created for the common picture bible. It is executed in brown pen and reveals his Roman style, which was oriented towards Raphael's history paintings and remained binding for the "Bible in Pictures" (1852) for which he was ultimately solely responsible, but in which the composition was no longer included. The present sheet is executed pictorially and reveals Schnorr's mastery in handling the drawing pen. As a high-ranking document of the German artists in Rome and their joint efforts to renew religious history painting, it is of museum value.

Michael Thimann

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