Pen and brown ink over black chalk
Support: Cream(3) laid paper
Sheet: 40.8 x 54 cm (16 1/16 x 21 1/4 in.)
Delia E. Holden Fund 1971.12
Like many of his German contemporaries in the early 19th century, here Friedrich Preller relied on precise pen lines only without use of brushwork or wash.
Friedrich Preller studied in Weimer, Dresden, and Antwerp before winning a stipend from Grand Duke Karl Alexander von Sachsen-Weimar to study in Rome. During his years in Italy (1828-31), he formed important ideas about landscape painting that would develop into a long career in Germany as a landscape painter. Like his teacher in Italy, the painter Joseph Anton Koch, Preller was inspired by the area known as La Serpentara around the picturesque mountain village of Olevano, southeast of Rome. He made numerous trips there and was especially struck by the oak forest depicted in this drawing. He inscribed the drawing with the locale and date (2 June 1829) in its lower left corner. His lively pen work leaves the lightest areas in outline only, so that the white of the paper helps record the fresh and bright atmosphere of the scene, set in relief by darker areas of firm, parallel hatching. Preller later wrote about the area around Olevano: "Nowhere was the organic coherence in nature so clear as there, and my observation was mainly directed toward that."
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