Emil Lugo

Autumn Evening in the Black Forest, 1894

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Lugo stages a dramatic landscape that resembles a backdrop in a theatre. The sky glows red due to the setting sun - the most pronounced coloration above the summit of the cliff makes it look like a volcano spewing forth lava. The formation is called the Scharfenstein, part of a rocky plateau situated in the Upper Münstertal.
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In this painting, Emil Lugo depicts a dramatic landscape almost reminiscent of a theater backdrop. A cliff face illuminated by the last light of the day stands out against the surrounding forest, where darkness has already fallen. The clouds in the sky glow deep red in the light of the setting sun; the color is most intense directly above the cliff and almost creates the impression of a fire-spewing volcano. Lugo aestheticizes the landscape to create a scene filled with drama; yet this is not an imaginary, ideal landscape, but an existing rock formation in the upper Münstertal valley near Freiburg. This rocky plateau was the site of a mountain fortress, the Scharfenstein castle, of which only parts of the foundation survive today. Originally the fortress served to protect the silver mine in the region, which had developed into a significant industry in the Middle Ages. Today the cliff still constitutes a striking natural monument in the Black Forest landscape: the 100-meter-high, nearly vertical rock wall is one of most impressive formations in the southwestern region. Emil Lugo further intensifies the magnificent effect of this natural monument through the evening mood and the glowing red sky. From 1875 to 1888, Emil Lugo lived in Freiburg and systematically explored the landscape of the Black Forest. Even after moving to Munich, he returned to Freiburg again and again. During one of these visits he must have made the studies for this painting, which was probably completed later in his studio. TILMANN VON STOCKHAUSEN (Transl. MELISSA THORSON)

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