Das Schlob Prediama in Crein XII Stund: von Triest [Predjama Castle in Carniola, Twelve Hours from Trieste]
39.3 cm x 31.3 cm (15 1/2 in. x 12 5/16 in.)
Karl Friedrich Schinkel
(Neuruppin (Brandenburg), 1781 - 1841, Berlin)
Medium and Support:
Pen lithograph with yellow plate tone with re-touching in ink
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Jack S. Blanton Curatorial Endowment Fund, 2005
Karl Schinkel is best known for his Greek Revival and Gothic Revival architecture, but he was also a painter, a set designer, and an early proponent of lithography. It was during his trip to Italy from 1803 to 1805 that he visited Predjama Castle and drew this scene. What impressed the young architect most was the castle’s location on a rocky precipice. He was in awe of “the wildest courage that people can command to settle in such a position.” The drawing lay in Schinkel’s sketchbooks until 1816, when he met the brilliant poet and playwright Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, whose theory that mountains were crystalline in structure may have inspired the artist to return to the motif. The juxtaposition of man-made structures and natural elements was particularly appealing to the architect, more generally to the Romantic sensibility. The rustic wooden buildings nestled into the forest in the foreground were an addition to the original drawing and echo the theme of the castle tucked into the mountainside, suggesting the work’s evolutionary process. Like Eugen Neureuther’s Sleeping Beauty (1836), opposite, Schinkel’s Predjama Castle is characteristic of German Romanticism with its focus on the intersection of nature and the human spirit and its remove from the classical tradition.