David Schnell

  • CV
  • Text

Born in 1971 in Bergisch-Gladbach. Lives and works in Leipzig.


David Schnell became widely known as a representative of the “New Leipzig School” and has set himself the goal of bringing traditional panel painting “up to date.” His themes and means could not be more classical: oil paintings dedicated to landscapes depicted in perspective. And yet what we see is clearly of the here and now—if not of tomorrow. Schnell’s landscapes have one foot in cyberspace: computer graphics, pixels, encryptions, and deep perspectives such as those found in animated films and games. The influence of the digital media on his work cannot be overlooked, while the creative process could not be further removed from the digital age. Schnell’s paintings transport the viewer into a virtual world of images that appears to follow its own inner logic.


The paintings Meadow, Game, and Lagoon are simultaneously abstract and realistic. They consist of tiered fields and strips of color in deep perspective, out of which, upon closer examination, landscapes emerge: meadows, water, plants, horizons, and skies gradually emerge, pixel by pixel, in front of the viewer’s eyes, and appear to expand and explode. The longer one looks at the pictures, the more the individual parts merge together to form a large, unified whole. This pictorial geometry is partially interrupted by representational motifs, which function as connectors between two worlds.

With great pull effect, David Schnell’s pictures draw our gaze into their depths. They strive with all their might to be understood, and yet always remain enigmatic and magical. “I have always had a great affinity to landscapes,” the artist explains. “I always found it fascinating to move through the landscape. In the landscape, one has the greatest experience of space.” It is thus not surprising that he wrote his theoretical thesis on the theme of “The Landscape as Social Criticism.”

From 1995 to 2002, David Schnell studied at the renowned Academy of Visual Arts (HGB) in Leipzig, where he graduated as a master student of Arno Rink. Today, he is among the most important representatives of the younger generation of painters in Germany and convinces viewers with his painterly and intellectual depth. Schnell goes through the world with an extremely intensive gaze. The resulting landscapes and cityscapes oscillate axiomatically between Renaissance painting and the world of digital imagery.