‘The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, Sri Lanka’  by Woldemar Friedrich
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‘The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, Sri Lanka’ 1887 - 1888

Woldemar Friedrich

Original oil on canvas
80 ⨯ 93 cm
Price on request

Zebregs & Röell - Fine Art - Antiques

  • About the artwork
    Woldemar Friedrich (1846-1910)

    Signed bottom right
    Oil on canvas, H. 80 x W. 93 cm

    ​The temple, also named Sri Dalada Maligawa, or the Glorious Tooth Temple, is located in the royal palace complex of the former Kingdom of Kandy and houses the relic of the tooth of the Buddha. Since ancient times, the relic has played an important role in local politics because it is believed that whoever holds the relic, holds the governance of the country. The relic was historically held by Sinhalese kings. According to Sri Lankan legends, when the Buddha died in 543 BC, his body was cremated in a sandalwood pyre at Kushinagar. His left canine tooth was retrieved from the funeral pyre by his disciple, Khema.
    Woldemar Friedrich is mainly known as a history painter and book illustrator. He studied in Berlin and Weimar where he later became a Professor at the Grand-Ducal Saxon Art School in Weimar in 1881 and also at the Art School of Berlin. In 1887 Herzog Ernst Günther von Schleswig-Holstein invited Friedrich to join him on a trip to India.

    During these six month travels he produced a series of paintings and watercolours of the then still exotic oriental world. These were used to illustrate the book Sechs Monate in Indien with text by E. Leipzig and published by Adalbert Fischer in Leipzig in 1893.
  • About the artist

    Woldemar Friedrich (20 August 1846 in Gnadau, Saxony – 16 September 1910 in Berlin) was a German historical painter and illustrator.

    In 1863, he began his studies at the Prussian Academy of Arts in Berlin, with Carl Steffeck. Two years later, he went to Weimar, where he continued his studies with Arthur von Ramberg, Charles Verlat and Bernhard Plockhorst. During the Franco-Prussian War, he created illustrations for the weekly family magazine, Daheim [de] then, after the war, illustrated Der französische Krieg von 1870/71, by Georg Hiltl [de]. After a study trip to Italy, he returned to Weimar in 1873, where he divided his time between illustrating and decorative painting; notably at the New Castle, Hummelshain [de]. In 1881, he accepted an appointment as Professor at the Grand-Ducal Saxon Art School.

    In 1885, he went to Berlin, to teach "drawing from life" at the Academy of Arts. There he continued to do decorative work, in the dome at the State Exhibition Building. In 1886, he was awarded a small gold medal at the Große Berliner Kunstausstellung. This was followed by a trip to India, after which he produced a series of watercolors and paintings, as well as an illustrated book, Sechs Monate in Indien, with text by "E. von Leipziger".

    Later decorative paintings of note include "The Diet of Worms", in the auditorium of the grammar school in Wittenberg, the allegorical paintings at the Deutsches Buchhändlerhaus [de] in Leipzig, and a mural for the community center in Niederbarnim, which depicts the citizens of Bernau returning home, after defeating the Hussites in 1432.

    From 1898, he was a member of the jury delegated to choose designs for the trading cards issued by the Stollwerck chocolate company. His fellow judges included Franz Skarbina, Emil Doepler and Bruno Schmitz, who was a partner in the company.

    He died in Berlin at the age of sixty-four and was interred at the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtnis-Friedhof in Charlottenburg-Westend. His grave has not been preserved.

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