This depiction of a geography lesson at an elementary school for boys was created by the Düsseldorf genre painter Carl Hertel (1837–1895). It is his most famous painting, of which he created several versions. Both the furnishings of the classroom and the boys’ clothing suggest an urban, middle-class environment. The boys are learning geography from a map of Europe; to the left is a map of Palestine, which was probably used for religious instruction. The school class is divided into the “good” students in the front rows near the teacher’s desk, who participate in the lesson, and those in the back rows, who are bored and distracted. Although discipline in schools during the Wilhelmine Empire was generally strict, the older teacher depicted here, whose job it is to teach “Young Germany,” seems rather pensive and resigned.

Carl Conrad Julius Hertel, Young Germany at School (1874)

  • Carl Conrad Julius Hertel


Source: Carl Conrad Julius Hertel, Jungdeutschland in der Schule [Young Germany at School]. Painting, oil on canvas (1874). Original: Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Nationalgalerie. 
bpk-Bildagentur, image number 00023964. For rights inquiries, please contact Art Resource at requests@artres.com (North America) or bpk-Bildagentur at kontakt@bpk-bildagentur.de (for all other countries).

© bpk / Nationalgalerie, SMB / Bernd Kuhnert