Genre & Material
Where can I find this in Berlin?
The portrayed interaction between man and machine impresses the observer in particular. Massive driving wheels, pistons, rollers, a variety of cables and connections, in between a great number of people manually operating the necessary machines. The picture almost looks like a swarm of ants.
Around six men are standing in the centre of the picture. They are inserting glowing iron, with the help of big tongs, into the roller. They are forming a kind of symbiotic relationship with the roller. They equip it and then the roller processes it further. A group of men stand on the other side and receive the processed metal. One is tangible with the other.
On the right edge of the picture, you see a woman bringing men a meal for their break. She is the only one to have eye contact with the observer. On the left side one sees some workers cleaning themselves. A man in the background, who is not working on the machines, is apparently controlling and supervising the procedures. Menzel didn’t paint the picture to criticize the working conditions but rather to show the procedures in an industrialized daily work routine.
ART@Berlin: Adolph Menzel – Steel Rolling Mill