Jakub Schikaneder was a Czech artist known for creating an atmosphere of melancholy. In his paintings a figure is often seen walking alone in winter in the old section of Prague. In the painting, edges are softened and surfaces are understated. The dusk light seems to be fading, suggesting the transience of human life.
Many artists in Europe used the word "Stimmung" to describe this poetic quality in a painting. "Stimmung" is a German word that means "mood" or "tuning." It's a noun form of "stimmen," which means to tune one's voice, but it refers not only the outward voice, but the inward voice of the soul. As such it has deep musical and poetic associations beyond the visual arts alone.
(Above: Frantisek Kupka, "The Way of Silence")
In the book Prague 1900, Petr Wittlich writes that Stimmung "refers not only to the particular emotional content of these paintings, but also to a certain philosophical undertone." Stimmung was seen as a special personal quality "preferable to normal sensory impressions: it was that additional element that inscribes miraculous signs of the world on the soul and is accompanied by feelings of exaltation and passion."
Previously on GJ
Wikipedia on Schikaneder
Wikipedia on Kupka
Wikipedia on Stimmung