Male Nude from Behind (Odysseus)
  • Friedrich Preller the Elder
  • Eisenach 1804 - 1878 Weimar
  • Male Nude from Behind (Odysseus), 1860
  • Pencil on paper,
  • monogrammed and dated on the lower right:
    FP (interlaced) / Rom d 12 Decbr. 1860
  • 291 × 191 mm
Arnold Otto Meyer, Hamburg (Lugt 1994),
his sale with C. G. Boerner, Leipzig,
part I, March 16-18 1914, lot 594

After his return from Italy in 1832, Preller began his first Odysseus cycle of seven landscapes for the former Roman House in Leipzig, a commission from his patron Dr. Härtel.

20 years would pass before Preller made a second cycle of 16 Odysseus landscapes as charcoal drawings. These motivated Grand Duke Karl Alexander to commission him to render the same motifs as frescos.

The first preparatory drawings for this project were made on a second journey to Italy in 1859, and from 1860 to 1861 Preller prepared all the cartoons for the frescoes in Rome, thus at the same time as the detail study shown here. Nevertheless, it would be another four years before the first pictures of the cycle, in wax paints on limestone, were installed on the walls of the so-called Preller Gallery of the Grand Ducal Museum in Weimar (now the New Museum).

The drawing shown here depicts Odysseus in the tenth image of the historical sequence, as he must look on with rage and admonitions at the Killing of Helios’ Cattle, a lance raised in his left hand (Fig.1).