Study of a Right and a Left Hand
  • Adolph von Menzel
  • Breslau 1815 - 1905 Berlin
  • Study of a Right and a Left Hand, 1890
  • Pencil, partially smeared, on vellum,
  • monogrammed and dated on the lower left: AM./90
    watermark J WHA[TMAN] 18...
  • 128 × 206 mm
Kunsthandlung Fritz Gurlitt, Berlin
Hermann Knackfuß: A. von Menzel,
Künstler-Monographien, Vol. VII, ill. 133 (p. 127),
Bielefeld and Leipzig, 5th edition, 1900

Studying hands fascinated Menzel throughout his life. His famous depictions of his own hand with a palette, with a book, or the study of his right hand drawn with his left nonetheless make clear that the manic draughtsman was less interested in aesthetics than in the traces of life among wrinkles and veins. A highly comparable left hand holding a book, perhaps a prayer book, appears in a pencil drawing from 1895 (Fig.1).