Hans Thoma - A Sleeping Shepherd
A Sleeping Shepherd
Oil on canvas. 56 x 46 cm.
Monogrammed and dated lower right: HTh (joined) 86.
Modern observers are occasionally perplexed by the rigidity and precision of Hans Thoma's works. His paintings combine realism with symbolist elements and appear to anticipate significant tendencies of the Jugendstil, New Objectivist, and Surrealist movements. This image of a sleeping shepherd depicted against Thoma's characteristic royal blue ground is a fine example of the artist's more mystical, fanciful works inspired by the natural world. The young shepherd lies beneath the dappled shade of a tree, with his left leg exposed to the sun. This main motif of the dreaming figure forms a prominent diagonal within the composition. His peaceful expression, the gentle play of light and shadow, and the stillness of the scenery combine to create a harmonious and calming mood.
In the possession of Charlotte Schumm-Walter in Bonn, 1909. - Private ownership, West Germany.
H. Thode (ed.): Klassiker der Kunst, Hans Thoma, vol. 5, Stuttgart/Leipzig 1909, p. 247.