Photograph: Werner Schmidt

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Tim Koch: Der Schönste Ruderpreis

Tim Koch writes,

I recently purchased a delightful Austrian or German engraving on the internet. It is titled ‘Der Schönste Ruderpreis’ and is from a painting of 1899 by C. Tito. A coy young girl is pinning a flower onto the unlikely uniform of a victorious rower. The ruderer is looking both pleased with himself and is perhaps thinking what further prize he may win. As to the title, I guessed that ruderpreis was ‘rowing prize’ and knew that schön alluded to something good. This was confirmed by an online dictionary which defined schönste as ‘shapeliest’ or ‘fairest’ or ‘most beautiful’. I think that I prefer ‘most beautiful’ as it could refer to the girl or the flower as the prize. The other two words could have only have one meaning - though I suppose the ambiguity adds to the joke.

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