DANHAUSER, Josef Franz
(b. 1805, Wien, d. 1845, Wien)

The Widow's Offering

c. 1838
Oil on canvas, 97 x 127 cm
Residenzgalerie, Salzburg

Inspired by William Hogarth and Jan Steen, Danhauser devoted the time between 1836 and 1844 to the painting of pictorial narratives, critical of society.

This painting is one of Danhauser's frequent appeals to the beholder's sense of morality by means of a metaphoric genre painting with religious content. A corpulent, expensively rigged out couple conspicuously demonstrate their hypocritical charity towards the "right" recipient. Obviously wanting to attract attention, the husband drops coins into the tin collection box of an obsequious sexton at the church portal. Pushed, as it were, into the background by the wife's sumptuous dress, a widow instructs her little son to give a coin to a blind beggar. With unmistakable, even caricatured facial expressions and body postures, the artist creates powerful contrapuntal effects in space and colour combined with great attention to detail.