Carl Spitzweg - The poor PoetOil on canvas, 1839, 36 cm × 45 cm, New Pinakothek in Munich

Don't disturb! I am thinking!


The masterpiece in Detail!

Carl Spitzweg - The poor Poet

Spitzweg was probably something we would call a "workaholic" today. His extensive oeuvre includes more than 1500 paintings and drawings. Of these, a very special one made it into the public consciousness - the poor poet. The painting is based on the poet's cliché that he is not interested in material outward appearances, since he has completely turned to spiritual pleasures.
It is a picture that immediately makes us smile: A man lies in the right part of the picture on an old mattress. He seems to find no motivation to get up and start the day - the sun is already shining through the window and tells us that it is broad daylight. And even the licking roof doesn't bother the writer any further - he has put on an umbrella without further ado, which drains the falling drops from him. In front of the mattress are numerous books and on the lap of the man are some pages of manuscripts. The glasses slipped down onto the tip of his nose. The man may be crushing a flea between his fingers.

On the left is a green, unheated tiled stove. Next to it is a washbowl and on a clothesline above it hangs a worn-out towel. Cylinder and jacket are also hanging in the picture. The poet has put some sheets of paper into the hole in the oven, which tell us in Latin that here lie the poet's "third bundle of his works", which obviously cannot be used.

Today it is assumed that Spitzweg alluded to the contemporary poet Mathias Etenhueber. He also lived in Munich and, although gifted, had to struggle with fading fame and the associated financial difficulties.

© the artinspector / alexandra tuschka