Famous Artists, Notes on German Culture

Beautiful girl purposely bumping into a knight in full armor…Blinde Kuh?

This is an interesting and charming little painting by Adolph von Menzel and a somewhat unusual subject matter for Menzel. It caught my attention for those reasons but even more so when I saw its title, Blinde Kuh (Blind Cow).


Blinde Kuh is a game, like Blind Man’s Bluff, but it’s also a common German expression, used to berate a girl that is not careful enough. I don’t see a blindfold, so I interpret this to be a charming scene of a beautiful girl purposely bumping into a knight in shining armor…he can be seen slightly tilting forward…and witnessed by a soldier in the background who has a look of disapproval on his face.

I think that Menzel painted this scene in 1867 to create a medieval image of a girl, smitten with the regal armored knight, purposely bumping into him, pretending to be a blind cow. You may have your own interpretation, but as they say, art is in the eye of the beholder.


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