Visit To Prison
Theodor Leopold Weller
Theodor Leopold Weller (1802-1880) was a famous genre painter in Germany and Director of the Mannheim Gallery. He painted many portraits of the popular life in Munich that made him become a major representative of the Munich School.
Weller lived in Italy between 1825 and 1833. Visit to Prison is inspired from that time of his life. It shows the visit of an Italian woman with her daughter to her imprisoned husband. The woman that served as a model could be Vittoria Caldoni, a popular italian model for many German painters living in Rome at the beginning of the 19th century.
The woman is wearing the famous Italian costume called costume ciociaro (including the traditional hat), usually worn by lower-class people who were mainly farmers and peasants. With her chin propped in the palm of her hand, the woman expresses her desperation to see her lover behind bars. The daughter seems concerned as she turns aside, however, probably because she can hear a gendarme bringing a cloaked, young man to an Austrian sentry, guardian of the prison. At the time the painting was made, large parts of Italy were under Austrian rules and domination. More than a genre scene, this painting is also a historical painting as well as a social critical view of the prison. - Tony Goupil
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