Spitzweg’s Scholar

Take a break from the cares of the day to enjoy a nice painting:

Today he'd simply be reading Wikipedia on a flatscreen monitor.This is a painting by one Carl Spitzweg, a pharmacist turned painter who lived in Germany. He did all this living between the years 1808 and 1885. Before and after those dates his whereabouts remain a mystery.

The painting is entitled Scholar of Natural Sciences. The title (the museum info card tells us) is ironic. The picture shows a dilletante rich enough to indulge in the fashionable 19th century hobby of amateur scholarship. A wannabe. But as Ian Frazier asks in his book On the Rez, what’s so bad about being a wannabe?

It’s a small painting, about 22 by 14 inches (some entirely different numbers in metric). Right now you have to go to Milwaukee to see it in person, but if the Peruvian invasion is successful you may need to go to Lima to enjoy it, so don’t delay.

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