In September and the beginning of October 1840, Friedrich Metz drew mainly full-page landscape views, mostly with central villages, farmsteads or prominent buildings, usually castles, into the portrait-format sketchbook with a pencil. He also studied numerous close-ups of terrain and architecture.
Thanks to the dates and places regularly noted below the illustrations, many of the precisely drawn places and architectures can be identified: Metz, who sometimes used his sketchbook several times a day, included Laufdorf, Runkel and Limburg an der Lahn, Ronneburg, Braunfels Castle and the ruins of the hilltop castle of Karlsmunt in Hessia. He also depicted Schönborn, Nassau and Balduinstein, the castles of Hohenfels and Stein, and the Arnstein monastery in Rhineland-Palatinate. The chronological and geographical proximity of the dates of origin and places depicted suggest that the drawings in question were created during hikes directly from nature. On the other hand, Metz, who was only 20 years old, probably drew other views from drawings, for example of a road in Münster in North Rhine-Westphalia, which, due to its date, is difficult to reconcile with the plausible route through southern and central Hessia and Rhineland-Palatinate (sheet 15 recto).
The view of the street in Münster and some other architectural views are interestingly realised almost identically in a sketchbook by Metz’s younger brother Ludwig, who also sketched in 1840 while walking through what was probably exclusively Hessia and probably also after drawings (see Inv. SG 2810, Städel Museum). According to the brothers’ dates, however, the depictions in question were made at slightly different times, so that a simultaneous sketch can be ruled out. In any case, the similarity of the drawings, both in terms of the chosen picture details and the perspectives, is so striking that they allow no other conclusion than that the young draughtsmen Friedrich and Ludwig Metz studied from the same material or even occasionally exchanged their sketchbooks in order to copy motifs of interest to them from one another.
In this sketchbook, Friedrich Metz probably took over a series of views of Wetzlar Cathedral as well as a view of Hohenstein Castle near Frankfurt, which his younger brother had created a few weeks earlier. In return, Ludwig Metz might have taken one of the two views of the Karlsmunt ruins from this book (compare the drawings on the recto pages of sheets 15 and 18 as well as 20 to 23 with those on the recto pages of sheets 31 to 36 in Ludwig Metz’s book).
For a full sketchbook description, please see “Research”.
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