Carl Joseph Alois Agricola, Karlsruhe Brush drawing with body colour
21.8 x 27.4 cm
The miniature portrait, probably a study for a lithograph, shows the 54 year old vernacular poet, theologian and educator in didactic discussion with the 19 year old Elisabeth Baustlicher of Langendenzlingen. The newly built Catholic church of St. Stephan in the background locates the scene in Karlsruhe, where Hebel was director of the secondary school for girls from 1808. Hebel's parents, who came from the environs of Basle, were employed in the household of the Iselin family in the city. There the poet, orphaned at an early age, spent a part of his childhood. His Alemanische Gedichte (Alemannian poems), written in Baden dialect and published anonymously in 1803, induced one reviewer, Goethe, to predict a place for Hebel and his vernacular poetry on the German Parnassus. His contributions published in 1811 as the Schatzkästlein des Rheinischen Hausfreundes (The Rhineland lover's casket) were also celebrated and made Hebel popular far beyond the borders of his native country.