Monday, September 1, 2014

Johann Tischbein

Goethe in the Roman Campagna
oil on canvas
164 × 206 cm
Stadelsches Kunstinstitut und Stadtische Galerie, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Tischbein (1751-1829), was a German portraitist and friend of the writer J.W. von Goethe. He was a descendant of the Tischbein family of painters that produced more than 20 artists in three generations. He painted landscapes, historical scenes and still lifes.

He was born at Haina, in what is now Hesse. He began his career painting portraits at the Prussian court in Berlin. In 1779 he went to Italy and in 1789 was appointed director of the art academy in Naples. Forced to leave in 1799 because of war, he retired to northern Germany.

He met Johann Wolfgang von Goethe there in 1786, made friends with him and accompanied him to Naples in 1787. Later, Goethe recounted this travel in his Italian Journey. Also in 1787, he painted his most famous work, a portrait of Goethe as a traveler in the Roman Campagna. From 1808, he was a painter at the court of the Duke of Oldenburg in Northern Germany.