Toledan Subjects

As attested by two of his Zurich sheets, Wilhelm Meyer staid in Toledo in April 1846. The pencil drawing La porte du Soleil à Tolède depicts the very well published Puerta del Sol (Figs 1-2). Picturesque groups of figures omitted, the monumental city gate becomes the central pictorial theme (Fig. 3). Looking at Meyer’s 1855 list of works, it can be assumed that the painter resorted to the Zurich study for his later painting Das Sonnenthor in Toledo commissioned by the Duchess of Mon[t]pensier. Another pencil drawing executed in Toledo and titled Sinagogue majeure ranks among Meyer’s most impressive sheets (Fig. 4). The painter convinces through his compositional skill and mastery of perspective depiction, setting himself apart from prestigious contemporaries such as N. A. Wells (Fig. 5). – FG

Taylor 1832. Wells 1846. Davilier 1874.

Spanish Synagogues

Of the many synagogues formerly existing on the Iberian Peninsula, only very few are still extant. One of them is the Toledan synagogue Santa María la Blanca, whose dating and attribution is much debated until today. With its transformation into a church 1411, a long phase of redecoration, reutilization and restauration started, during which the original building suffered greatly. Having been alienated as military barracks and storehouse in the 18th century, the restauration initiated by José Amador de los Rios on behalf of the Comisión Central de Monumentos intervened massively with the original substance of the building. Apart from changes in the area of the horseshoe arches, the stucco capitals and friezes were restored (Figs 6-7). The 1846 pencil drawing by Meyer documents the state of the building before this intervention (Fig. 4). – HLK

Kubisch 1995. Palomares Sánchez 2009. Passini 2011.
Fig.1 (en)

Fig. 1. Puerta del Sol with folkloristic scene (Taylor 1832, Pl. 21).

Fig.2 (en)

Fig. 2. Puerta del Sol with picturesque figures (Davilier 1874, p. 517).

Fig.3 (en)

Fig. 3. Wilhelm Meyer, "La porte du Soleil à Tolède", pencil on paper, 31 x 43 cm, Sevilla, April 1846 (Kunsthaus Zürich, Grafische Sammlung, L. 73, fol. 15).