At the turn of the 1880s and 1890s Schikaneder used several times the tragic motif of a young girl’s wrecked life. He may have been indirectly influenced in the choice of such motifs by the English Pre-Raphaelites, especially by John Everett Millais.
In line with contemporaneous prose, Schikaneder turned most of these scenes into confrontations of poverty and a lust for life. The culmination is this Murder in the house, describing the tragic fate of a woman in a miserable tenament. By painting this story from the lowest social strata on a canvas more than two metres high and three metres long, he gave it the significance of history paintings, considered as works of general importance for society as such.
Murder in the House, 1890 by Jakub Schikaneder.