MENZEL, Adolph von
(b. 1815, Breslau, d. 1905, Berlin)

William I Departs for the Front, July 31, 1870

1871
Oil on canvas, 63 x 78 cm
Nationalgalerie, Berlin

This painting is a key document in the new German nation's propaganda, balanced between the gracious culture of the past and the bourgeois monarchy of the post-Industrial Revolution. The combined flags of Prussia and Germany on the Unter den Linden housefronts testify to a great new nation - modern Germany - united by battle against the invading French.

In this painting Menzel displays an approach that points to the most literal aspects of early Impressionism.