Schönfeld, Johann Heinrich. 1609-1684

Marriage at Cana

Germany, 17th century

In the Gospel According to St John (2: 1-10) we read how Christ attended a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and turned water into wine when the wine began to run out. Before the discovery of Schonfeldt's signature, this painting had been attributed to the Venetian school. At first sight it does indeed seem to be some variation on Veronese's famous scenes of feasting, but Schonfeldt's painting presents the subject as a ghostly vision. Set against a background of grandiose architecture, the figures - painted with light brushstrokes - seem too small. Christ can barely be picked out amonst the colossal columns. Schonfeldt painted generalized forms, rejecting the depiction of real, tangible figures and objects. The flickering light, capriciously wandering around the picture space, creates a particular emotional mood which is an embodiment of the feelings of the artist himself. Schonfeldt's art was always subjective and melancholy, and was very popular with his contemporaries, as well as with 18th-century painters.


Marriage at Cana







145,5x182,5 cm

Acquisition date:

Entered the Hermitage in 1924; handed over from the Leningrad (formerly Petrograd) Art Treasures Department

Inventory Number: