Double study of a bearded man
  • Adolph von Menzel
  • Breslau 1815 - 1905 Berlin
  • Double study of a bearded man
  • Carpenter´s pencil, partly smeared
    on creme paper
  • 204 × 130 mm

This recently rediscovered, full-length sketch of an upwardglancing bird trader from the centre left of the marketplace marks an exception among the preparatory studies for Menzel’s Piazza d´Erbe, as only a few thematically related studies of this detail are known. One can find further studies of the stand of two bird traders, in front of the first market umbrella on the left, on just two densely scribbled pages of a sketchbook held by the Berlin Kupferstichkabinett (1).

Our drawing pertains to this same scene, in which a coarse, bearded man with missing teeth holds up a wooden pole with a hawk bound to its end by a string, preventing the bird from flying away as it flaps its wings above the crowd. A second trader, also equipped with a bird on a pole, is shown climbing up the right side of the market umbrella, in order to prompt the reposing bird to flight again.

We are grateful to Marie Ursula Riemann-Reyher and Claude Keisch for confirming the authenticity of this drawing.