Explanation

  • At the same time as ordering the building of the Ludwigskirche in Munich in 1829, King Ludwig I of Bavaria (1786-1869) commissioned the interior decorations for the church from the German painter Peter von Cornelius (1783-1867). The scene representing the Last Judgement, which is reproduced in Heinrich Merz’s copperplate engraving, was painted on the wall behind the high altar in the church. As in Thorvaldsen’s Christ (inv. no. A82), here, too, we see a figure with arms outstretched in an embrace. Nevertheless, this figure of Christ has a quite different implication from that by Thorvaldsen. Cornelius’s figure of Christ clearly has his right hand turned up as a sign of welcome. The left hand, on the other hand, is dismissive. Thus we are presented with the Christ who judges human beings on Judgement Day. The embracing arms are the gentler message suggesting the expectation of a merciful judge. Thorvaldsen received the print from the art collector Alfred von Lotzbeck (1819-74). Lotzbeck on the one hand wrote a brief greeting in pencil containing the date 25 February 1841 at the bottom of the print, and on the other a letter to Thorvaldsen in which he says that there were altogether three graphics in the package.

Dimension

  • Width (plate size) 560 mm
  • Height (plate size) 840 mm
  • Width (paper size) 650 mm
  • Height (paper size) 955 mm
  • Peter Cornelius Eq pinxit In Ecclesia [...] Il Merz sculpsit / MAGNUS DIES DOMINI ET TERRIBILIS VALDE Joel 2.11 / VENITE BENEDICTI PATRIS MEI. Matth. 25,34 DISCETITE A ME MALEDICTI Matth. 25,41. / Alfred von Lotzbeck seinem Thorvaldsen, den 25ten Februar 1842