Gothic Windows in the Ruins of the Monastery at Oybin

Carl Gustav Carus (German, Leipzig 1789–1869 Dresden)

ca. 1828
Oil on canvas
17 x 13 1/4 in. (43.2 x 33.7 cm) Frame: 21 3/4 x 17 7/8 x 2 1/4 in. (55.2 x 45.4 x 5.7 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, 2005 Benefit Fund, and Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation and Eugene V. Thaw Gifts, 2007
Accession Number:
  • Gallery Label

    This church, with its fine Gothic tracery, was founded in 1369, deserted in 1546, and later embraced as a motif by German Romantic artists. Carus visited in August 1820, making a drawing (Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden) that served as a study for the painting. It depicts a vista through two windows—one on either side of the ruined choir—toward a pale morning sky and distant hill. In its starkness and opposition of dark and light, and with young trees referring to the cycle of life, the image invites both hope and meditation.

  • Provenance

    Franz Ulrich Apelt, Zittau (by 1935–d. 1944); by descent through his family (1944–2007; sold through Thomas Le Claire, Hamburg, to MMA)

  • Exhibition History

    Zittau. Städt Handerwerkerschule. "Oberlausitzer Kunst im neunzehnten Jahrhundert," June 6–August 4, 1935, no. 11 (as "Blick durch gotische Fenster am Oybin-Chor," lent by Sammlung Apelt, Zittau).

    Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, and. Residenzschloss Dresden. "Carl Gustav Carus — Natur und Idee," June 26–September 20, 2009, no. 130.

    Berlin. Alte Nationalgalerie. "Carl Gustav Carus — Natur und Idee," October 9, 2009–January 10, 2010, no. 130.

  • References

    Marianne Prause. Carl Gustav Carus, Leben und Werk. Berlin, 1968, pp. 151, 178, 182, no. 299, fig. 299a, reproduces a drawing inscribed August 1820 (Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden), used as a study for this painting.

    J.A. Eisenwerth. Beiträge zur Motivkunde des 19. Jahrhunderts. Munich, 1970, pp. 13–165, ill. p. 34.

    Sabine Rewald in "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 2006–2007." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 65 (Fall 2007), p. 39, ill. (color).

    Sabine Rewald in Masterpieces of European Painting, 1800–1920, in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, pp. 16, 218, no. 13, ill. (color and black and white).

    Dirk Gedlich in Carl Gustav Carus — Natur und Idee: Katalog. Exh. cat., Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden. Berlin, 2009, pp. 142–43, no. 130, ill. (color).

    Johannes Grave. "Der 'Fixierte Blick': Bildtheoretische Implikationen des Fensterbildes bei Carl Gustav Carus." Carl Gustav Carus — Wahrnehmung und Konstruktion: Essays. Berlin, 2009, pp. 209–10.

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History