barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham

Adrian Ludwig Richter (1803-1884)


Dresden, 1848

Plate: 420 x 250 mm; mount: 630 x 515 mm


This tender portrayal of a mother and child is based on an 8th-century folk tale that was popularised during the 19th century. Condemned and abandoned by her husband, Genoveva and her child found sanctuary in the forest, where they are tended to by a doe.

Richter endows the print with a magical aura, focusing on the nourishing qualities of the forest. The heavenly light streaming through the gnarled oak trees symbolises Genoveva’s inherent virtue and innocence. A popular illustrator of German folk tales, Richter delighted in using landscape settings and a fairy-tale style. Nationalistic in essence, the print is inspired by Germanic wildlife and vegetation and the medieval revivalism of Romanticism.

Purchased 1998 (No. 98.3/2)

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