A Swan Among the Reeds, by Moonlight

Carl Gustav Carus was a close friend and follower of fellow German Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich and absorbed his stirring elegiac nature imagery. Just as in Friedrich's paintings, the moon in this drawing symbolizes impending death. The swan, about to take flight, evokes the soul's taking leave of the body. Carus drew this as a birthday present for his daughter Clara as she lay ill with the typhus that would take her life three months later.

Charcoal with white gouache heightening on brown paper laid down on thin board (September 18, 1852)

by Carl Gustav Carus (German, 1789-1869)

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