By Charles W. Haxthausen, Suhr Heidrum
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Additional resources for Berlin: Culture and Metropolis (Cultural Studies)
And for a perceptive discussion of the painting, see Rolf Bothe, "Franz Skarbina, Gleisanlagen im Norden Berlins," in Berlinische Notizen, Festgabe fiir Irmgard Wirth (1981), 137-38. Pictures of a City at Work 33 18. These distinct but not exclusive positions as to what the city represented might be said to correspond with a disparateness in the styles or the content of the styles Skarbina employed. Contemporaries of Skarbina located his style between the tradition of Berlin "realism" exemplified in the work of Adolf von Menzel and the more "modern" and "foreign" influences such as the impressionist painters di Nittis and Caillebotte.
Their drawing is finely transcriptive, almost academic, but in the selection and recombination of those finely drawn elements, Hubbuch analyzes and is not given to artistic speculation or stylistic experimentation. His mode is satirical. To understand this pictorial analysis and its satirical bent, however, one must examine and be able to interpret these prints in all their meaningful detail. Yet any attempt at detailed interpretation is necessarily limited by the personal symbolism and inherent topicality of this imagery.
Both viewpoints suggest a degree of alienation conditioned by, on one hand, a more purely functional relationship to the city and, on the other, a more purely aesthetic one. Figure 3. Franz Skarbina. View of the Seine and Paris at Night, 1901. 5 cm. Berlin Museum. In granting the beholder distance and evoking a mood, Skarbina invites him or her to project subjectively. That distance, which is separation and absence, composes an image perhaps of yearning, and certainly one meant Pictures of a City at Work 15 to cause reverie or stir the imagination.