RUNGE, Philipp Otto
(b. 1777, Wolgast, d. 1810, Hamburg)

The Artist's Parents

Oil on canvas, 196 x 131 cm
Kunsthalle, Hamburg

This painting uses the same symbolism as in The Hülsenbeck Children, painted a year before.The physical appearance of the parents is wonderfully represented as the fading of the physiognomy of human beings, as life passes by.The children are not only descendants, they are counterpart of the old couple and also signify the changes in nature. This is the co-existence in time of youth and age, to a certain extent the symbol of rebirth. The girl is pointing to a flower and the old mother also holds in her hand a rose that has been plucked, and so will soon wither. And just as the father is leading his old wife by the arm, so the boy is also holding the girl right, while himself leaning to pick a flower.

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