Spurl on the Hunt

7:00 AM

Wilhelm Leibl, Sperl on the Hunt, 1895

Wilhelm Leibl entered the Munich Academy of Fine Arts in 1864 and by 1869 had set up a studio in Munich. In the same year, Courbet exhibited a collection of his in Munich. This exhibit introduced Leibl to his painting style, Alla Prima. This unique style requires quick work and deft hands as the paint is applied on top of the still wet layer below. In order to further refine his work Leibl set out for Paris in 1870. This short lived trip lasted nine moths due to the Germans and French doing what they have always done to each other - try to kill each other. After fleeing Paris and the French, Leibl returned to Bavaria, deciding to live in the numerous small villages dotting the countryside. Most of Leibl's typical paintings are made during this time: Usually portraits of peasants with minimal detail, save for the face, against a dark background. Leibl took a very un-German approach to his painting, choosing to paint without sketching the subject first; this freehand style is typical of impressionist painters.

Spurl on the Hunt, does not exemplify Leibl's typical form of painting. The background mountains are very light and have magnificent attention to detail. Peasants, while present, are not the subject of the painting; instead Leibl has chosen himself and fellow painter Johann Sperl as the subjects. The hard edge of the farmland divides the painting horizontally. The color of the mountains and clouds almost makes them appear as one object. The angle that the man in black (probably Leibl) creates a triangle with the figure of Sperl. 

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