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Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, Ruth in Boaz's Field

Key facts
Full title Ruth in Boaz's Field
Artist Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld
Artist dates 1794 - 1872
Date made 1828
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 59 × 70 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Bought, 1997
Inventory number NG6570
Location Room 45
Collection Main Collection
Ruth in Boaz's Field
Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld

The subject of this painting is taken from the Old Testament Book of Ruth. The youthful widowed Moabite Ruth is gleaning (gathering up corn left after the harvest) to support her widowed mother-in-law, Naomi. The landowner Boaz has heard of her situation, and impressed by her devotion has instructed his workers to leave lots of corn for her to gather. Ruth and Boaz eventually married, and King David, Mary, Joseph and Jesus were among their descendants.

The picture was painted in Munich, based on drawings Schnorr von Carolsfeld had made a few years earlier in Italy. He had spent ten years in Italy, and was a leading figure in a group of German and Austrian artists named the Nazarenes who sought to return modern painting to the purity of form and spiritual values that they saw in Renaissance art. The colours here are pure and clear and the painting is very highly finished, giving it a porcelain-like quality.

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