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Picture Clock C. L. Hoffmeister “Coblenz, Ehrenbreitstein und Pfaf(f)endorf am Rhein”

Bilderuhr C. L. Hoffmeister Coblenz, Ehrenbreitstein und Pfaf(f)endorf am Rhein


Vienna, second quarter of the 19th century

gilt bull’s eye-frame
verge escapement, Viennese grande sonnerie on wire gongs, repeater, musical movement with two tunes and automatic release on the hour, signed “Willenbacher & Rzebitschek in Prague, no. 1007.12282”
oil on metal
30×40 ⅓ in

The masterly painting on this Viennese picture clock shows a historical view of the former residence of the Trier electoral princes: The city of Koblenz with the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress. The delicacy of the painting and the highly detailed figural staffage identify this piece as the work of the most prominent Viennese picture clock painter C. L. Hoffmeister, who is known for having created further paintings with this motif.

The dial is integrated into the tower of the St. Peter and Paul parish church in Pfaffenberg (where a neo-Gothic sacred building stands today). On the left bank of the Rhine, we can see the Electoral Palace and the Basilica of St. Castor with its four towers. A pontoon bridge connects the city to the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress. The castle, which originated in the early Middle Ages, was expanded over the centuries and eventually transformed into a Prussian fortress. In the municipality of the same name at the foot of the castle hill, the old Church of the Holy Cross and the Heribert Tower can be seen.

With the help of the strolling group of figures, the gaze of the viewer is skilfully directed to the idyllic hollow way and on over the broad width of the Rhine through the composition, which is staggered in a manner reminiscent of a stage set.

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