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Art Inspired by Humboldt
Travel Studies from Central and South America

13.11.2009 to 11.04.2010


In the 19th century, following the footsteps of Alexander von Humboldt, the painters Johann Moritz Rugendas, Ferdinand Bellermann and Eduard Hildebrandt undertook extensive journeys through Latin America. The travel sketches and nature studies they produced there, inspired by Humboldt and highly regarded throughout Europe, amount to a heyday in the representations of the American Subcontinent. Portraying landscapes, flora and fauna, as well as hamlets, peoples, customs and habits, the artists created a fascinating picture of the areas they visited.

The Kupferstichkabinett owns many high-quality works testifying to these artists’ travels. They originate from Rugendas’ three-year sojourn in Mexico (1831-34), from Bellermann’s time in Venezuela (1842-45), and from Hildebrandt’s first journey to Brazil (1844). Most of the works were purchased for the Kupferstichkabinett by Friedrich Wilhelm IV in response to recommendations made by Humboldt. As a group, they form the basis of a unique special collection of nature studies of faraway lands, especially the tropics. The exhibition is the first to bring together a large number of drawings and sketch books of the three artists.