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German History in Documents and Images
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Laying a Cable near Mühlheim am Rhein (1880)
Conjuring up parallels with Ford Madox Brown’s Work (1852-63) and Adolph Menzel’s Piazza d’Erbe in Verona (1884), this panorama by Christian Sell (1831-83) portrays divisions of class, occupation, and generation while bringing together the worlds of labor and everyday life. A strong compositional diagonal draws the viewer’s eye towards the upper-middle-class overseers who stand stiffly near the center of the image.