The painting "Cathedral Towering over a Town" in the Neue Pinakothek is a fine copy painted by the Berlin arstist Karl Eduard Biermann after Schinkel's original work of the same period, which no longer exists. Schinkel's visual depiction impressively reflects the general enthusiasm of 19th century artists for the Gothic cathedral. Against a turbulent sky, the silhouette of a mighty cathedral rises above a city and river. The filigree details of the pinnacles, gables and crockets of both lofty towers are contrasted against a brightly shining background.
The portrayal of the architecture plays a central role in Schinkel's work. The Greek antiquity forms and the medieval Gothic are contrasted as equal partners in an idealization of the past. In the years when the German states were waging war against Napoleon, the Gothic was believed to be an original German style, this being before the historical architectural roots of the French Gothic were adequately recognized and presented. Every preoccupation with Gothic architecture and every depiction of Gothic forms at that time can therefore also be seen as a visual entreaty for the formation of a new German national awareness. Schinkel's visionary depiction has no direct prototype. Rather it must be seen as a construct of various idealized elements of Gothic church architecture, which never really existed.