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Bull, L., Cordwell, P., Denyer, L., Dorsett, C., Doyle, J., Edmundson, S., Giovanelli, L., Harris, R., Hartshorne, I., Hawtin, C., Hemmersbach, L., Lawley, C., Meganity, R., Moloney, D., Mountford, B., Penlington, S., Topoloewski, R., 2017.

Menzel's Foot

Output Type:Exhibition
Number of Works:17

In 1876 the German painter Adolph Friedrich Erdmann von Menzel made a self-portrait of kinds. At the age of 62 he depicted the aging distal appendage of his own right leg. It is discolored with swollen toes, crossed by varicose veins and has skin that appears slack as it wrinkles around the joints. The big toe extends towards the viewer and has been described both as a sign of the painter's vitality or symptom neurological disease. Observing the work we adopt the viewpoint of the artist and for a moment our relationship to the wall that the painting hangs on changes as it becomes the floor, adding to the power of this deceptively simple image.

While Menzel is celebrated in Germany he is less known in the UK, but his remarkably frank depiction of the extremity of his own body has inspired works by UK based painters including Glenn Brown (War in Peace, 2009) and Damien Meade (Foot, 2009). For the exhibition Adolf Menzel's foot we invite contemporary painters to respond to this remarkable painting.