Here we have a German painter by the name of Wilhelm Carl Räuber (1849-1926), who is mostly known (anymore) for his St. Hubertus painting, but we thought he had some other interesting paintings that deserve a bit of attention. The white stag in the painting is, of course, a symbol that goes back to pre-Christian times.
White stags played an important role in other pre-Indo-European cultures, especially in the north. The Celtic people considered white stags to be messengers from the Otherworld, and thus, much like in the Arthurian legend, the pursuit of the animals represents mankind’s spiritual quest. The Celts believed that the white stag would appear when one was transgressing a taboo, whereas King Arthur’s knights felt called to go on a quest when they encountered a white stag. You can find one of these stories in the Mabinogion, for example.
Incidentally, and quite off topic, really: The white stag makes an appearance in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, in which a large white stag is hunted as part of the quest “Ill Met by Moonlight”. Hmmm.
Back to the painter: Wilhelm Carl Räuber was born July 11th, 1849 in Marienwerder in what was then West Prussia, and died on January 25th, 1926 in Munich. He studied in Königsberg, known as Kaliningrad since the end of WWII, and later in Munich. There, Räuber settled for the rest of his life.
Räuber was quite famous in his time and received several golden medals in art exhibitions in Düsseldorf (in 1880) and Munich (in 1883). Today, his paintings are found in the Nationalgalerie in Berlin, as well as in the Deutschen Museum and the Neuen Pinakothek, both in Munich.
The Alps feature quite prominently in two of the three paintings we chose, as a somewhat hazy, and yet majestic backdrop to an otherwise colorful and rather preoccupied group of people.
The people and what they are engaged in, be it a moment of prayer or a probably well-deserved break, speak to us in a very lively manner, as if we were part of their group instead of observers. And there are always dogs in the paintings!
Just so that we don’t ignore Räuber’s portraits completely, here is one of his charcoal portraits of a little cutie pie who appears to have been his adoptive daughter. It’s a giant image when you click on it, so you can see rather well how he drew it.
Featured: Wilhelm Räuber: Landsknechte am Wegkreuz, 1902