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Galerie Neue Meister, Dresde Etat Art Collections

Carl Gustav Carus

(1789 - 1869)

Date : 1826 | Medium : Oil on canvas

This canvas is characteristic of the mystical spirit of the Romantic painter Carl Gustav Carus. The starlight and moonbeams against the night sky illuminate a balcony adorned with Gothic quatrefoils. A cathedral church rises up in the background. As in 'The Garden Bower’ by Caspar David Friedrich, the composition of the foreground is extremely skilful: solid columns on either side draw our gaze towards the centre of the painting, where the balcony acts as a transition between interior and exterior. There, backlit by the almost supernatural light, stands a harp being caressed by a diaphanous angel, its chords vibrating. Although the harp is not an instrument traditionally used in religious music, Carus links it to the celebration of the divine in several of his paintings. Music symbolises harmony. This painting is imbued with spirituality, as the intangibility of the music rising heavenwards is matched by that of the angel, an emissary of the divine. As the incarnation of the divine and the personification of the cathedral, the Angel is a recurrent theme among several painters and can also be found much later in the works of Gustave Moreau, for example.


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