36. Carl Maria Nikolaus Hummel

Weimar 1821 – 1907 Weimar

Rocky Landscape near Narni, 1844

As the son of the famous composer Johann Nepomuk Hummel (1778–1837), a close friend of Goethe and Beethoven, Carl Hummel was brought up in a scholarly and culture-oriented environment and was able to devote himself to an artistic career without financial worries. He entered the Weimar School of Drawing in 1833, trained under Friedrich Preller (1804–1878), and travelled through Italy between 1842-45. His stay in the Umbrian hilltown of Narni in the summer of 1844 is documented by a number of studies. This oil sketch, with the location and date Narni 30/6 44 scratched into the still-wet paint, was executed entirely before the motif. Bathed in warm southern light, the rugged rock formation is painted with broad, fluid strokes. The cropped composition and indistinct features of the verdant mountainside make it difficult for the viewer to get a sense of scale for the scene. Though a famous landscape painter in his lifetime, Hummel was since largely forgotten. The rediscovery of his estate, which was kept in the Schlossmuseum in Weimar until 1993, has renewed interested in the artist, above all thanks to his studies in oil.