Johann Heinrich Schonfeld

Marriage at Cana

Marriage at Cana
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Author: Johann Heinrich Schonfeld
Painting, Oil on canvas, 145.5x182.5 cm
Origin: Germany, 17th century

In the Gospel According to John we read how Christ attended a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and turned water into wine when the wine began to run out. Before the discovery of Schonfeld's signature, this painting had been attributed to the Venetian school. At first sight it does indeed seem to be some variation on Veronese's famous scenes of feasting, but Schonfeld's painting presents the subject as a ghostly vision. Set against a background of grandiose, empty architecture, the figures - painted with trembling brushstrokes - seem too small. Christ can barely be picked out amonst the colossal columns. Schonfeld paints generalised forms, rejecting the depiction of real, tangible figures and objects. The flickering light, capriciously wandering around the picture space, creates a particular emotional mood which is both dictated by the nature of the subject and is yet an embodiment of the feelings of the artist himself. Schonfeld's art was always subjective and melancholy, and was very popular with his contemporaries, as well as with 18th-century painters.

Personage: Christ
Source of entry: 1924
Theme: The Bible and Christianity
Exibition: German Art: 15th - 18th centuries

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