Moritz von Schwind
The Erlking, um 1860
Öl auf Eichenholz, 32,2 x 45,3 cm
1865 durch Adolf Friedrich Graf von Schack erworben
Inv. Nr. 11554
Goethe based his poem "Erlkönig" on a Danish folk ballad about the king of the elves and his daughters, which had been translated into German by Johann Gottfried Herder as `Erlking¿s Daughters¿. The ballad¿s proto-Romantic content is rooted in popular notions of the supernatural. Schnorr uses gestures to convey the threat inherent in the story, whereas Schwind bathes the scene in a pale half-light and emphasises the demonic aspect. In places, the outlines Schwind drew with rapid, flickering strokes of the pen show through the thin, loosely applied paint.