Sep 8, 2008

Smithy, study for "Das Gericht"

Smithy, study for "Das Gericht"


Samuel H. Crone

(American, 1858–1913)


Support: Brown wove paper

Image: 121.4 x 94.2 cm (47 13/16 x 37 1/16 in.)

In memory of Sarah H. Crone (nee Voegtly), gift of William S. Huff 1999.38



Crone made Smithy while still a student at the Academy in Munich, and it reflects the style and subject matter favored there. Although it is a drawing, Smithy has the scale and impact of an oil painting. Crone executed the work in charcoal, which can be easily smudged, smeared, and manipulated. The artist used a brush or some other instrument to create large, painterly strokes, perhaps using water or another liquid to help him create brushy effects. This is especially impressive in the blacksmith's apron. Crone also chose a brown paper that exemplifies the dark tones of the Munich School. The drawing is related to a painting that became Crone's best-known work: The Judgement (Das Gericht). The painting was shown at an important exhibition in 1883 and, though lost today, is known from a reproduction that appeared in the exhibition's catalogue. The work depicted a burly blacksmith considering what to do about a young boy caught stealing apples in his shop. The present drawing clearly shows the same bearded model, though he is in a different pose: seated and holding a pipe. The figure has an impressive monumentality, dignity, and scale. The size of the sheet is unusual for a study drawing, and Crone no doubt intended it to stand as an independent work.

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