The legend of Pippin and Bertha
|The legend of Pippin and Bertha|
|Leopold Bode , 1876|
|Oil on canvas|
|Schack Collection , Munich|
The legend of Pippin and Bertha , also called Pippin and Bertha (The legend of the birth and childhood of Emperor Charlemagne) , is the title of a painting by Leopold Bode . It is designed as a triptych and shows scenes from the Bertha saga . The painting is part of the Schack Collection in Munich .
Leopold Bode , a German history painter, painted a series of watercolors from the saga of Emperor Charlemagne in 1873/74 for the villa of Wilhelm Hermann Carl von Erlanger in Ingelheim , where a Carolingian imperial palace was located . Three pictures showed scenes from the legend about Karl's parents Pippin and Bertha , three further pictures showed scenes from the legend about Einhard and his wife Imma, who, according to the legend, was a daughter of Charlemagne. A supraport in the form of a semicircular lunette shows an angel who warns the sleeping Karl of a conspiracy, from where, according to legend, the place got the name Engelheim. The watercolors have not been preserved and have only come down to us through photos.
“Leopold Bode, a pupil of Steinle's , on behalf of the current owner of the Imperial Palace in Ingelheim, Baron v. Erlanger in Frankfurt a. M., six cartons (two larger and four smaller) made for the saga of Charlemagne. They were exhibited in the St [ä] del'schen Kunstinstitut in Frankfurt and aroused general interest. "
Adolf Friedrich von Schack had seen the watercolors in Bode's studio and had ordered a three-part oil painting of the legend of Pippin and Bertha for his collection of paintings . Bode painted the picture in 1875/76. In 1939 the entire Schacks collection became the property of the Bavarian State Painting Collections .
The original frame of the triptych was destroyed during World War II. Since then, the pictures have been displayed framed in simple gold strips. In 2017/18 the original frame was reconstructed based on a historical photograph and entries in Bode's diaries.
The newly framed series of pictures was part of the exhibition Telling in Pictures , which was on view in the Schack Collection from November 2018 to March 2019 and then in the Clemens Sels Museum Neuss from April to June 2019 . The triptych has been permanently in the Schack Collection since summer 2019, where it was last exhibited in 2004.
It depicts scenes from the Bertha saga, which revolves around the historical person Bertrada the Younger , who in 741 became the wife of Pippin the Younger , later King of the Franks , and in 747 became the mother of Charlemagne . In his portrayal of the legend, Bode orients himself on the romantic verse epic Bertha, the spinner of Karl Simrock from 1845. He picks three scenes out of this epic and depicts them graphically.
The panel on the left shows Bertha, a king's daughter from Swabia, who was left in the forest by the knights who were supposed to bring her to Pippin. Bertha sleeps and is threatened by a wolf, but an angel protects her.
“A holy angel hovers gently / down with shimmering plumage, / he defends the wolf, keeps faithful watch, / pours life into the limbs. / And heals the wounds, fanning Ruh / You with the colorful wings / And refreshment of sweet slumber. "
The right panel shows Pippin, who came to the miller on a hunt, who took Bertha in. From his astrologer, who is shown in the background, he learned that he would meet Bertha here and with her beget a powerful ruler. Because Pippin has never seen Bertha and only knows about her that she has unevenly sized feet, he forces her to let him wash her feet.
"She sat; He was seen kneeling in front of her, / The noble lord of the Franks, / loosening the nestle, pulling down the stocking from the slender's foot, / and how she dips him into the water, / and soon the other one, see what needs / the king to know more? "
Pippin recognizes from his unequal feet that he has Bertha in front of him, sleeps with her and fathered the future emperor Karl. Prevented by a war campaign, he was only able to bring Bertha and Karl over to him years later. Bertha's parents, King Flor and his wife Blanschflor, accompany him. Simrock describes the re-encounter only briefly:
"The journey was completed today: / There was a merry night / At the miller's in the mill."
Bode painted the scene for the large central painting of his triptych. Bertha comes out of the house dressed in a blue coat and with a wreath of flowers on her head and carries young Karl in her arms. Behind her is the miller couple with their two daughters. Pippin hurries up the stairs to Bertha with outstretched arms. On the left edge of the picture, Bertha's parents are shown on horseback, with the king's entourage behind them.
The form as a triptych, the selection of the depicted scenes and their composition give the sequence of images an almost religious character. In the middle picture Bertha appears like Maria with the baby Jesus , and the kings with their entourage and a kneeling man of color with a gift basket recall a depiction of the adoration of the kings . With the guardian angel picture and the washing of the feet , the side pictures are also reminiscent of Christian motifs.
Reconstruction of the frame
The original frame was reconstructed for the presentation of the triptych in the exhibition Telling in Pictures . In a photograph from 1909, which shows the hanging of the triptych in the stairwell of the then newly opened gallery building , it can be seen that the frame was formed from architectural forms with Gothic style elements. Leopold Bode wrote in his diaries that the frame was designed by the Frankfurt architects Alexander Linnemann and Philipp Strigler and built by the Pütterich Brothers in Munich.
Since the photograph showed the work in an oblique view, it first had to be corrected in perspective in order to be able to determine the correct proportions of the individual frame parts. After that, a proportion pattern was created for the reconstruction of the frame and, after its adaptation, the new frame. According to the description in Bode's diaries, the new frame was built from oak like the original frame and the gold leaf was applied to it so thinly without a primer that the wood grain characteristic of oak wood remains clearly visible through the thin gold layer. As a result, the new frame is as close as possible to the original frame.
- Herbert W. Rott: Leopold von Bode - The legend of Pippin and Bertha . In: Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen (Ed.): Collection Schack. Catalog of the paintings on display . Hatje Cantz, Ostfildern 2009, ISBN 978-3-7757-2504-0 , p. 42 f .
- Herbert W. Rott: Pippin and Bertha . In: Herbert W. Rott, Ulf Sölter (Hrsg.): Telling in pictures. Edward von Steinle and Leopold Bode . Exhibition catalog. Prestel, Munich, London, New York 2018, ISBN 978-3-7913-5840-6 , pp. 169-172 .
- The legend of Pippin and Bertha (triptych, middle part). In: sammlung.pinakothek.de. Bavarian State Painting Collections
- Berta sleeps in the forest (triptych, left wing). In: sammlung.pinakothek.de. Bavarian State Painting Collections
- Pippin washes Berta's feet (triptych, right wing). In: sammlung.pinakothek.de. Bavarian State Painting Collections
- The saga of Pippin and Bertha (triptych, middle section). In: sammlung.pinakothek.de. Bavarian State Painting Collections, accessed on October 20, 2020 .
- Herbert W. Rott: Pictures from the saga of Charlemagne . In: Telling in pictures . Prestel, Munich, London, New York 2018, pp. 167 ff .
- Painting and the reproductive arts. In: Illustrirte Zeitung , May 1, 1875, p. 11 (online at ANNO ).
- A new framework for Pippin and Bertha. In: pinakothek.de. Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, January 29, 2019, accessed on October 20, 2020 .
- Storytelling in pictures. Edward von Steinle and Leopold Bode. In: pinakothek.de. Bavarian State Painting Collections, accessed on October 20, 2020 .
- Berta sleeps in the forest (triptych, left wing). In: sammlung.pinakothek.de. Bavarian State Painting Collections, accessed on October 20, 2020 .
- Pippin washes Berta's feet (triptych, right wing). In: sammlung.pinakothek.de. Bavarian State Painting Collections, accessed on October 20, 2020 .
- Herbert W. Rott: Leopold von Bode - The saga of Pippin and Bertha . In: Schack Collection. Hatje Cantz, Ostfildern 2009, p. 43 .
- Karl Simrock: Bertha the spinner . Brönner, Frankfurt a. M. 1853, p. 14 ( Digitale-sammlungen.de ).
- Karl Simrock: Bertha the spinner . Brönner, Frankfurt a. M. 1853, p. 32 ( Digitale-sammlungen.de ).
- Karl Simrock: Bertha the spinner . Brönner, Frankfurt a. M. 1853, p. 43 ( Digitale-sammlungen.de ).
- Herbert W. Rott: Pippin and Bertha . In: Telling in pictures . Prestel, Munich, London, New York 2018, pp. 172 .