Carl Julius von Leypold (1806 - 1874)
Private collection, Munich
cf. Wallraf-Richartz Museum, 1964, Katalogue Der Gemälde Des 19 Jahrhunderts, pp. 42 (Friedrich), illust. p. 181. p. 181
cf. Werner Sumowski, Caspar David Friedrich und Carl Julius von Leypold, Pantheon, September 1971, p. 497-504
cf. Helmut Börsch-Supan, Caspar David Friedrich 1774-1840. Romantic Landscape Painting in Dresden, The Tate Gallery, London 1972, p. 97
Modest in size and austere in composition, Deep Winter: View of an Ancient Fortress is an exciting example of Carl Julius von Leypold at his most poetic. Painted when he was 22 year old student of Johan Christian Dahl at the Dresden Academy, our painting comes close in subject matter and mood to the works of the Caspar David Friedrich, the genius of German Romantic painting. With this signed and dated painting, Leypold’s talent and originality becomes clearer amongst the artists working in the circle around Friedrich in Dresden in the 1820’s.
Using a wintry palette of whites, grays and browns, Leypold depicts the side of a gray- stone fortress. Severely cropped buttresses - one vertical, one diagonal frame a mysterious, dark void whose open wooden doors beckon us to enter. Continuing the play of abstract forms, a square entablature bearing a coat of arms sits above a horizontal snow covered roof. As a counterpoint to the strict geometry, nervous tree branches climb upwards on either side. Snow partially covers the foreground and dusts the wall, branches and wooden doors. The fortress suggests a resistance to the passage of time.
Snowy landscapes dominated Friedrich’s work between 1826-30. Deep Winter: View of an Ancient Fortress shows that Leypold too, could glimpse the perfection of a cold winter’s day.