Friedrich and his family in the battle of Hochkirch

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Friedrich and his people in the Battle of Hochkirch (October 14, 1758) (Adolph von Menzel)
Friedrich and his family in the Battle of Hochkirch (October 14, 1758)
Adolph von Menzel , 1856
Oil on canvas
295 × 378 cm
War loss, formerly Alte Nationalgalerie

Friedrich and his people in the battle of Hochkirch is a painting by Adolph von Menzel .

Menzel made the painting between 1850 and 1856. The subject of the work is the Prussian defeat in the Battle of Hochkirch on October 14, 1758. It shows the Prussian troops desperately defending against the Austrian surprise attack at night. King Friedrich II can be seen almost in the middle , who gallops towards the viewer and tries to organize the resistance. The choice of topic was met with incomprehension by the contemporary audience, because the unfavorable outcome of the battle resulted from the Prussian king's lack of caution when choosing the camp site.

Menzel more in his account of the tradition of the classic battle painting significantly from that represented the commander in the foreground symbolically exaggerated as a battle handlebar, while in the background marched anonymous ranks. In the foreground of the painting, however, the soldiers occupy the more important position. The historical greatness of the Prussian King could not be adequately represented for contemporary criticism. On the other hand, the realism and monumentality of the work were praised. In 1867 it was presented at the Paris World Exhibition.

The original probably burned at the end of the Second World War in Berlin's Friedrichshain bunker .


  • Hubertus coal : Adolph Menzels Friedrich pictures. Theory and Practice of History Painting in Berlin in the 1850s (Munich University Writings of the Institute for Art History 1), Munich [u. a.] 2001 (Chapter: Friedrich and his people near Hochkirch in the context of Prussian and international battle iconography)
  • Hubertus coal: Adolph Menzels Friedrich. An apology of historic greatness? , in: General Directorate of the Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation Berlin-Brandenburg (ed.): Friederisiko. Friedrich der Große, [Catalog for the exhibition in the New Palais and Park Sanssouci, April 28 to October 28, 2012], Vol. 2: The Essays, Munich 2012, pp. 272–283.
  • Dieter Radtke: Friedrich and his own ( in battle) near Hochkirch , in: Zeitschrift für Heereskunde 72/429 (2008), pp. 142–147.
  • Photo credits: Friedrich Winkler / Gerhard Niedermeyer (arrangement): Adolph Menzel. Born in Breslau in 1815, died in Berlin in 1905, ed. from Air Force Command Staff 1c / VIII, Munich undated (approx. 1940), p. 6.

Web links

Commons : Friedrich and his people in the battle of Hochkirch  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence