- Museum number
Object: Charon mit dem seelentragenden Nachen (Charon's bark with souls crossing the Styx)
Series: Darstellungen aus Dante's Hölle (Scenes illustrating Dante's Hell)
Charon standing on a boat, beating the damned souls personified with an oar; Dante, sleeping and Virgil are depicted in the foregroud to left; a reclining river god, leaning on an amphora is seated in the foreground to right; second plate of the series. 1807-8
- Production date
Height: 329 millimetres
Width: 377 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Text from Antony Griffiths and Frances Carey, 'German Printmaking in the Age of Goethe, BM 1994, no. 102 :
In the 1790s Reinhard's friend the critic Carl Ludwig Fernow staged readings in Rome from August Wilhelm Schlegel's translations of parts of Dante's epic into German verse which accompanied his famous 1791 essay on the poet. These were attended by Carstens and Koch. Carstens was the first to illustrate some scenes from Dante, some of which were later copied by Koch for Thorwaldsen (Berlin 1989, cat.48-53), who had also made some drawings of his own (Stuttgart 1980, cat.22-7). But it was Koch who became the poet's greatest admirer. He read the entire epic in Italian, and is reported to have declaimed long passages which he knew by heart on his walks around Rome.
The most famous earlier series of Dante illustrations was drawn by John Flaxman in Rome in 1793, and engraved at the same time by Piroli. These were made on commission for Thomas Hope, who refused to allow the prints to be published, reserving sets purely for presentation to his friends. Nevertheless somehow the prints got out (Piroli certainly made a second set of plates for himself), were very widely known and studied. In his letter to Frauenholz of 30 January 1802, Koch was careful to distinguish his project from Flaxman's: "I am certain that my compositions will not have the least resemblance to Flaxman's. They are in the taste of Etruscan vases, and do not show the entire scene, but only groups drawn from it. Whether I etch the work myself, or have it done by another, it must include shadows and light".
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1994/5 Sept-Jan, BM, 'German Printmaking in the Age of Goethe, no. 102.
- Associated titles
Associated Title: Divine Comedy (Inferno, Canto III, lines 82-136)
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number