Study of a kneeling workman
  • Adolph von Menzel
  • Breslau 1815 - 1905 Berlin
  • Study of a kneeling workman
  • Black chalk, partly smeared
    on pink prepared paper
  • monogram lower middle: A. M.
  • 184 × 128 mm

Among the most prominent figures of the painting is the man in the middle of the group of three pavers who are laying down new cobblestones in the foreground.

Menzel intensely prepared the depiction of this central figure, the largest in the picture. As early as the sketchbook from his 1881 trip to Verona, we encounter initial conceptions of this subject. Large-format individual studies followed through 1883, but many of them were discarded and labelled as such by the artist (1).

A drawing highly comparable to the present sheet, also on coloured paper and in an identical format, shows the same labourer from an only slightly altered viewpoint (Fig. 1).

In 1879, Menzel had drawn another trio of pavers, this time with the title “Dramatic Pause,” as two of the three men have interrupted their work for a pinch of snuff (2).