barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham

Johann Baptist Zwecker (1814-1876)

Young Love

Düsseldorf, 1840


24.1 x 28.7 cm 


This Romantic etching is a highly atmospheric scene of love and death on a moonlit mountainside, taken from Heinrich Heine’s ‘Buch de Lieder’.

‘Love, O Love, it was your might, brought us to our sorry plight’. Their existence blighted by self-destructive love, ghostly figures rise from their graves to warn of its dangers. Zwecker, an illustrator, brilliantly captures the eerie and tragic tale of eternal loss expressed in Heinrich Heine’s poem ‘Dream Pictures’. Using the highlights and shadows cast by the moon, Zwecker contrasts the clearly defined figures in the foreground with the transparent, frenzied ghosts in the background. He prompts the viewer to consider the fragile divide that exists between the tangible and the spiritual realms; between life and death.

Purchased 2001 (No. 2001.4)

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