Pipes in Art - Carl Spitzweg
The Romantic period of the first half of the 19th century was born in rebellion against the embrace of science, reason, and the advancing Industrial Revolution which defined the Age of Reason by itself embracing flights of dramatic fancy, emotional and philosophical turmoil, and an idealized (often unrealistic) Medievalism. But then the Romanticists of central Europe got all the Sturm und Drang they could handle, via bloody political upheaval. Following this came, unsurprisingly, another art movement (defined less by a fixed time period, and more by a central mood) which brushed all of that aside for a focus on quieter, more sentimental subject matter; the Biedermeier.
Given the introspective nature of this movement, I wasn't entirely surprised to find plenty of pipes popping up in the works of one of its more famous figures, the autodidactic Bavarian artist Carl Spitzweg. He was in many ways a very fitting representation of Biedermeier ideals, with his works eschewing politics or social commentary to concentrate on satirical, yet also at times deeply symbolic, representations of often eccentric individuals (The Bookworm being the most famous), as well as his quiet, almost monastic way of life, keeping to a small garret apartment above Rothenburg's (at the time) quietly decaying medieval architectural grandeur, from which he could look down upon the people of the town in search for inspiration.
Carl Spitzweg: He Comes
Carl Spitzweg: He Comes (detail)
A Hunter Looking to a Young Girl
A Hunter Looking to a Young Girl (detail)
The Cactus Lover
The Cactus Lover (detail)
Suspicious Smoke (detail)
Like the anti-rational tempestuousness of Romanticism, though, the quiet introversion and contentment of the Biedermeier (as particularly expressed in Spitzweg's depictions of guards and soldiers nodding off or knitting at their posts - both completed in 1848 as Europe again stirred towards a restless froth) couldn't last forever - such things never do.
Eric Squires: Copywriter