Writing, writing, writing

Der arme Poet / The Poor Poet, Carl Spitzweg, 1839, oil on canvas, 36.2 × 44.6 cm.

For a long while I had a link on my “projects” page to this painting, which I love with all the force of a million starving artist cliches. I thought I’d post it here as a fond and gently satirical testament to work of the mind.

A couple of interesting facts I learned while browsing the German Wikipedia entry for this painting:

-After the Mona Lisa, this is the painting that Germans most love in the world (according to an unidentified poll).

-Many have wondered what sort of a gesture this poor poet is making with his right hand. Some think he is scanning verse. Others believe he has plucked and is squishing a flea from his bedding. All poor poets know that one does not discount the other.

Mathias Etenhueber had the dubious privilege of serving as the model for this poor poet picture.

-And finally, my favorite: There are two almost identical versions of this painting. One is in the Neue Pinakotek in Munich, and the other was in the Nationalgalerie in Berlin. Until it was stolen by Ulay in 1976 as part of a performance piece (!), then stolen again in 1989 by true art thieves and never located. In art, there is a criminal touch.

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