Emil Pirchan (St. Katharein 1844 - Vienna 1928)
Siegfried with Mime and the death of Fafner the dragon
artist’s monogram lower right; signed and inscribed with title on a label attached to the verso
oil on paper laid down on canvas
420 x 438 mm
Christie’s, South Kensington, Continental Pictures of the 19th & 20th centuries, 12 October 1995, lot 63
Private Collection, England
This painting depicts the climax to act II of Richard Wagner’s Siegfried, the third of four operas in Wagner’s Ring Cycle, Der Ring des Nibelungen. The protagonist Siegfried stands proudly beside the slaughtered dragon Fafner, as Mime, a scheming Nibelung dwarf and Siegfried’s foster-father, offers a poisoned chalice. Although Fafner is shown here in his adopted form of a dragon, he was originally a giant. For his part in the construction of the halls of the gods, Valhalla, Fafner was compensated with a ring of power and the gold of the Nibelung. Mime, who adopted Siegfried in his infancy in the hope of one day claiming the ring for his own, attempts to seize his opportunity to claim the ring with the jealous dragon now dead.
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