46" x 22"
In early 19th-century Germany and Austria, members of society were quite oppressed and regularly watched by the monarchy. This political and social climate encouraged people to spend their time largely at home. It is in this context that the style known as Biedermeier developed. It typically features an aesthetic of simplicity, functionality, and elegance. This particular Biedermeier mirror is made of blond fruitwood, a common material for works of this style, and features two roped columns on either side of the mirror. The overall design is divided into two sections; the mirror, featured in the lower two-thirds, and the frame with a sunken wood panel, in the top third. While the design is not evenly split, the visual weight of the wood balances the large mirror, creating a pleasing design to the eye. The combination of columns and a large wooden panel atop a mirror was a common design for Biedermeier mirrors. The narrow design of the work was also common, as mirrors were typically found nestled between windows in the home. It is unlikely this mirror would have been kept in a bedroom, as those mirrors were much smaller. The Biedermeier period only lasted until the 1840s; while short lived, it had influence on subsequent styles and remains a fascinating example of the connections between art and society.
At this time in European history, the early 19th century (1815–1848) was tumultuous. Across the Continent, people were becoming increasingly frustrated by practices of censorship and the presence of secret police organizations. To counter such operations, revolutions and attempts at instilling change in leadership took place over the years, with varied success.