Hand studies with a prayer book
  • Adolph von Menzel
  • Breslau 1815 - 1905 Berlin
  • Hand studies with a prayer book
  • Carpenter´s pencil, partly smeared, on vellum
  • monogramed and dated on the lower left: AM. / 90
    watermark: J WHA[TMAN] 18...
  • 128 × 206 mm

Throughout his life, Menzel paid particular attention to the study of hands, particularly those that were old and wrinkled. Famous depictions of his own hand with a palette or book, as well as the study of his right hand “painted with his left,” reveal however that this was not a matter of aesthetics for the compulsive draughtsman, but rather of analysing the traces of life left amongst wrinkles and veins. A highly comparable left hand holding a book, likely also the prayer book of a female churchgoer, can be found in a sketch from 1895 (Fig. 1).