Anton Teutenberg

The Infant Christ Borne Aloft by Putti, with Allegories of the Arts

The Infant Christ Borne Aloft by Putti, with Allegories of the Arts by Anton Teutenberg

Artwork Detail

Dated 1857, this pen-and-ink drawing by Anton Teutenberg (1840-1933) combines early Romantic influences with evidence of mid-century Gothic Revival. This drawing was evidently influenced by the remarkable designs for the Tageszeiten (Times of Day) series of the German Romantic artist Philip Otto Runge (1777-1810) which were engraved and etched by Johann Gottlieb Seyfert (1761-1824). However, the spareness of Runge’s compositions has been replaced by a wealth of detail after the fashion of the Gothic Revival, notably the twisting vine which creates the architecture of the composition, accommodating the various putti located therein, and which clearly references heraldic mantling, the origins of which lay in the mediaeval period.

Teutenberg’s composition includes the central figure of an infant Christ, borne aloft by three putti surrounded by stars. Four more putti are located in the corners of the composition, each with an attribute identifying them as one of the arts (clockwise from top left: literature; music; painting; architecture). The triangle entwined with the vine at bottom centre refers to the Christian Trinity (God the Father, Christ the Son and the Holy Spirit) and this visually underpins the entire composition, suggesting a relationship between religion – ‘divine’ inspiration – and the creative arts.

The Infant Christ Borne Aloft by Putti, with Allegories of the Arts
Anton Teutenberg
Production date
pen and ink, with traces of graphite, on paper
367 x 275 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2013
Accession no
No known copyright restrictions
International Art
Display status
Not on display

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