The grotto of Neptune at Sanssouci, Potsdam
  • Franz Skarbina
  • Berlin 1849 - 1910
  • The grotto of Neptune at Sanssouci, Potsdam
  • Black chalk on white paper, partly smeared
  • signed and inscribed: F. Skarbina / Potsdam
  • 270 × 172 mm

We find a comparable luminary effect also in the drawing of the baroque Neptune Grotto in Potsdam. It was not the noble architecture of Schloss Sanssouci or the Neues Palais that inspired the artist here, but rather a detail of the fountain built by Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff at the behest of Friedrich II between 1751 and 1755. A unique combination of architecture, sculpture, and nature lends the fountain a truly special appeal, even today. The astonishingly prescriptive detail of this image captures the viewer’s eye first of all with the female nude that crowns the fountain; only on a second glance does it reveal that it is merely a sculpture of this elegant nude. The relaxed posture and the gently smeared hatching of the drawing lends the naiad such a soft vibrancy that it serves as a link between the movement of the foliage in the background and the stone architecture of the grotto.