Art of reverse glass painting

© Hedi Scheck, © Schloßmuseum Murnau, Bildarchiv


The making of feather flowers, the baking of gingerbread and Hinterglasmalerei (reverse glass painting) are art crafts with a rich tradition found in Murnau. Due to a lively cultural and economic exchange with the art centre of Augsburg, several glass painters in Murnau received their training there. Subsequently, Hinterglasmalerei of a high quality was developed in Murnau.

Both the style and the themes employed in these works of art were shaped by the late Baroque tradition of Upper Bavaria. The artists usually derived these directly from the copperplate templates printed in Augsburg that they used for their paintings. In the 19th century, the demand for the reverse glass paintings grew, so that simpler types of pictures were produced for mass consumption in the surrounding towns. These had brilliant colours, simple black contours and a distinctive primitive style of representation. High-quality artistic images co-existed alongside more populist series of works of art.

In the course of the 19th century, the new colourful lithographs pushed this art craft aside. Despite this, traditional reverse glass painting was revived by a new group of customers in the early 20th century: city dwellers who came here for the Sommerfrische, the summer holidays. The artists of the Blue Rider movement were among them. They began to use this technique themselves, initially only painting according to historic models. Inspired by this art craft, they developed a new artistic form of representation: Expressionism.

Today, there are only a few Hinterglasmalerei artists in the rural area around Murnau a. Staffelsee. Their skills allow a piece of history to endure and contribute to the highly diverse art scene in the Blue Land.

Murnau's reverse glass painters

Castle Museum Murnau


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