Deutsch - English

Austria 19th century

Children at the Window

get link Details:

Children at the Window

Oil/canvas, 85 x 69 cm
Signed and dated bottom left: Waldmüller 1853

go Inv. Nr.335

follow link Artist:

follow WALDMÜLLER Ferdinand Georg

source 1793 Vienna - 1865 Hinterbrühl/Mödling


 WALDMÜLLER Ferdinand Georg
The eminent representative of early realism financed his sporadic studies at the Vienna Academy between 1807- 1811 by "illuminating chocolate boxes". (Subsequently he made a living as a painter of miniature portraits, as a drawing master and as a scene painter at various theatres.) He gained proficiency in painting in oils, inter alia, by copying the masters of the Italian Renaissance and Baroque as well as the 17th-century Dutch masters. Waldmüller, who had become professor and first custodian of the picture gallery of the Vienna Academy in 1829, was appointed "Kaiserlicher Rat" (imperial councillor) in 1835. In 1846, he issued his first polemic pamphlet against the instruction provided by the Academy. Metternich supported him for years, but on the appearance of his third pamphlet in 1857, he was sent into retirement and as a punishment his salary was cut by half. In 1863, the pugnacious art historian and pioneer of Austrian open-air painting was rehabilitated by Emperor Franz Joseph I. The independent spirit of the portrait, landscape, genre and still-life painter and his passionate aspiration to "truth" manifested themselves, inter alia, in the unmistakably objective depiction of details and in his unique way of "painting with light".


Children at the Window
Chubby-cheeked, happy children in their Sunday best are crowded at the window, watching with interest what is going on outside. With friendly smiles, the smaller of the two boys and the sister follow the movement of their brother's arm as he points out of the picture with his index finger. This gesture, which appears spontaneous and perfectly natural, emphasises the highly illusionist depiction and the implied closeness to the beholder. Waldmüller captured an unspectacular, fleeting moment with convincing intensity and true-to-life accuracy. The dazzling sunlight and the bold, cast shadows clash almost tangibly. The artist, who referred to the "...three-dimensional reproduction of shadow and light as the point of main interest", achieved a convincingly realistic effect with clearly delineated chiaroscuro. The play of light brings out the various textures with impressive clarity. With great attention to detail, Waldmüller presents the "glory of simplicity". Dainty climbing roses make the scene appear less shabby and mirror the blooming health of the children. Merry peasant children, depicted without any suggestion of social criticism, were a popular motif when this painting was executed in 1853. Moreover, this was not the first time that Waldmüller had taken up the subject of frame pictures (see page 13), which was a classical motif in European art. The version entitled "Young Peasant Woman with three Children at the Window", dating from 1840, is to be found at the Neue Pinakothek München, Inv. no. 12.895.


go site Literature
Gabriele Groschner, Thomas Habersatter, Erika Mayr-Oehring (Ed.): Masterworks. Residenzgalerie Salzburg. Salzburg 2002, p. 142



Visit us at:Facebook YouTube