Adolph Friedrich Erdmann von Menzel, (December 8, 1815 – February 9, 1905) was a
German artist noted for drawings, etchings, and paintings. Along with Caspar
David Friedrich, he is considered one of the two most prominent German artists
of the 19th century, and was the most successful artist of his era in Germany.
His popularity in his native country, owing especially to politically
propagandistic works, was such that few of his major paintings left Germany,
many being quickly acquired by museums in Berlin. Menzel's graphic works and
drawings were more widely disseminated; these and informal paintings not
initially intended for display have largely accounted for his posthumous
Although he traveled in order to find subjects for his art, to visit
exhibitions, and to meet with other artists, Menzel spent most of his life in
Berlin, and was, despite numerous friendships, by his own admission detached
from others. It is likely that he felt socially estranged for physical reasons
alone—Menzel had a large head, and stood about four foot six inches.
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