Landscape with Ruth and Boaz

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Joseph Anton Koch (Austrian, 1768–1839)
Landscape with Ruth and Boaz, 1823/25
Oil on canvas
33 1/4 × 43 1/4 in. (84.46 × 109.86 cm)
Gift of René von Schleinitz Memorial Fund, by exchange M1999.117
Photo credit: Larry Sanders
Currently on View

Joseph Anton Koch spent most of his life in Rome where he became a pivotal figure in 19th-century German landscape painting.Combining French classical traditions with an emerging Romanticism, the genre flowered anew in Koch’s hands. Constructing a “heroic” landscape in which human figures are presented in nature as an expression of eternal majesty and grandeur, Koch transformed natural elements into idyllic, often stagelike spatial structures. A radiant, eternally blue sky symbolizes the timeless, universal validity of nature, God’s creation. The Old Testament tale of Ruth and Boaz depicted here tells the story of how the widowed Ruth faithfully accompanied her mother-in-law, Naomi, back to her homeland where, while gleaning wheat, she met and later married the owner of the fields, Boaz. This story of love and family devotion would have appealed to the German nationalist sentiment that emphasized family virtues.

Publication History
Hornstein, Ernst, Klaus Wankmiller, Thomas Pfundner, Peter Linser, Richard Lipp, Sonja Kofelenz, Margarethe Kirchmayr, and Julia Rabitsch. Extra Verren 2018 Jahrbuch des Museumsvereins des Bezirkes Reutte, 13 Jahrgang (2016). 2019, p. 173, pl. xxxv.1, color illus.

Ambrosini, Lynne, and Tamera Lenz Muente. Nineteenth-Century German Paintings from the Milwaukee Art Museum. Cincinnati: Taft Museum of Art, 2007, p. 6-7, color rillus. p. 7, color detail cover.

Os, H. W. van. Dreaming of Italy. The Hague: Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, 2006, p. 99, fig. 35, color illus.

Andera, Margaret, Nonie Gadsden, Britt Salvesen, and Laurie Winters. Collection Guide: Milwaukee Art Museum. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Milwaukee Art Museum, 2004, pp. 18, 68, cat. 20, color illus. p. 18.

Milwaukee Art Museum. Building a Masterpiece: Milwaukee Art Museum. New York: Hudson Hill Press, 2001, p. 84, color illus.

Sotheby’s, June 23, 1981 [auction catalogue]. London: Sotheby’s, 1981, lot 13.
Exhibition History
Nineteenth-Century German Paintings from the Milwaukee Art Museum, Taft Museum of Art, Cincinnati, September 7-November 4, 2007.

Dreaming of Italy, Mauritshuis, The Royal Picture Gallery, The Hague, The Netherlands, March 11-June 25, 2006.

This information is subject to change as the result of ongoing research.