FOHR, Carl Philipp
(b. 1795, Heidelberg, d. 1818, Roma)

Ideal Landscape near Rocca Canterana

1818
Oil on canvas, 98 x 135 cm
Museum Schloss Fasanerie, Eichenzell

The Ideal Landscape near Rocca Canterana of the year 1818 is one of Fohr's best-known paintings. To a greater extent than many other Nazarenes, Fohr turned to the tradition, cultivated since the eighteenth century, of a stylised depiction of nature derived from the classical ideal. The composition shows a rocky pastoral landscape in the central mountains of Italy. In the foreground, a path winds past craggy rocks and old, gnarled trees. Walking along it is a festively clad country girl with a child in her arms, holding the hand of another child balancing a jug on her head. To the right, under the trees, a group of pilgrims passes into a defile, in the direction of a distant, illuminated valley. Ahead of the girl, two shepherds follow the path into the picture, where a peaceful, hilly region rimmed by steep mountains opens out.

This painting stands in the tradition of the Arcadian landscape, which emerged in the Renaissance and inspired countless variations on the theme of a paradise on earth - a paradise that, in this case, due to the presence of pilgrims, also makes allusion to the Christian Heaven. By depicting the various stages of walking and wandering, Fohr evokes the transience of all earthly things and the journey into the future, which is the true goal of human existence.