Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller, The interrupted Pilgrimage (The sick Pilgrim)
This late work by Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller is regarded as an outstanding example of the artist’s ability to merge genre and landscape scenes to form a pleasing unit. The scene shows a colorful crowd of pilgrims stopping on a rocky mountain cliff, surrounded by magnificent scenery, to care for a companion lying on the ground. Waldmüller arranged the persons in a triangular composition and framed them with beautifully executed studies of the natural surroundings. The bright light merges man and nature into a harmonious whole. The peasant genre was highly esteemed in the Biedermeier period, and colorful, folkloristic depictions of peasant life were favored in Viennese bourgeois households in lieu of confronting the harsh and austere living conditions of the rural population. Waldmüller therefore concentrated on scenes other than work in the fields.