Friedrich Overbeck

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Self-portrait around 1830
Self-portrait with family, around 1820, Behnhaus
Overbeck spent his youth in Lübeck's Königstrasse.
Friedrich Overbeck, pencil drawing by Karl Philipp Fohr
Johann Friedrich Overbeck, photograph by Franz Hanfstaengl (1855)
Overbeck's tomb, executed by K. Hoffmann

Johann Friedrich Overbeck (born July 3, 1789 in Lübeck , † November 12, 1869 in Rome ) was a German painter , draftsman and illustrator . He is considered the protagonist of Nazarene art .

Family background

Friedrich Overbeck was a son of Lübeck's mayor , senator, canon , lawyer and poet (" Come on, dear May, and do ") Christian Adolph Overbeck (1755-1821) and grandson of the lawyer Georg Christian Overbeck (1713-1786) and his wife Eleonora Maria Jauch (1732–1797).


Overbeck had always enjoyed drawing, and an old artillery sergeant named Mau , who also taught drawing, was his first teacher. On Michaelmas Day 1803 he came to the Prima of the Lübeck Katharineum .

In 1804, which can be regarded as the year of Overbeck's artistic birth, when he was not yet fifteen, he managed to get his father to take him as a student to the painter Joseph Nicolaus Peroux , who was living in Lübeck at the time . It was this who kindled the first love fire for divine art in him .

On March 6, 1806, leaving his parents' home and thus Lübeck forever, he moved to Vienna to continue his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts . Heinrich Friedrich Füger taught there . Dissatisfied with the classicism taught at the academy , Overbeck broke off his studies there in 1810 and moved to Rome with Franz Pforr and Ludwig Vogel .

Working in Rome

As early as 1809 in Vienna, the friends founded the Lukasbund based on the example of the medieval guilds of St. Luke , a group of artists who dedicated themselves to the renewal of art in the spirit of Christianity through the rediscovery of old Italian and German art. They were joined by Philipp Veit and Peter Cornelius . They lived in a monastic community in Sant'Isidoro on the Pincio in Rome . Overbeck converted to the Roman Catholic Church in April 1813 under the influence of the later Cardinal Pietro Ostini .

Her designation as Nazarenes because of her hairstyle was initially meant mockingly, but the term “ Nazarene art ” became common. In 1816/17 he had his artistic breakthrough with the painting of the Casa Bartholdy, the residence of the Prussian ambassador Jakob Ludwig Salomon Bartholdy (painting by Overbeck, Cornelius, Veit and Friedrich Wilhelm von Schadow with frescoes on the legend of Joseph , now in the Alte Nationalgalerie , Berlin) . 1817–1828 he designed the Casino Massimo (painted by Cornelius, Veit and Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld , who lived with August Grahl in the Palazzo Caffarelli as a guest of the Prussian ambassador von Bunsen ). In 1826 Overbeck turned down the offer of the Bavarian King Ludwig I to take on a professorship at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich , as well as a corresponding offer from the Düsseldorf Art Academy . In 1829 he also turned down the offer to manage the Städel Art Institute in Frankfurt am Main. Adored as a patriarchal figure by friends and numerous students, filled with deep faith, the "Catholic internationalist" (Jens Christian Jensen) held on to the conservative ideal of the early years until his death, even as the religious painting of the late Nazarists long ago through post-romanticism and realism was outdated. A personal visit by Pope Pius IX proves his appreciation in church circles . in Overbeck's house in Rome. In addition, Overbeck belonged to the painter Johann Michael Wittmer , the doctor Clemens August Alertz and others on the board of the arch-brotherhood " Campo Santo Teutonico " in Rome. His godchild and son-in-law, the Roman sculptor Karl Hoffmann (1816–1872), created the epitaph Overbeck in the church of San Bernardo alle Terme in Rome, where he was buried.

Under Anton de Waal , the Arch Brotherhood tried to transfer the body to Campo Santo, where Overbeck's wife Anna (around 1790-1853), her two daughters, who died early, and their son († 1840) were buried.

Aftermath and significance

With Peter Cornelius Overbeck is one of the most important representatives of the attempt to renew German painting out of a religious spirit in the 19th century. Overbeck's work and his role as the leader of the Nazarenes has increasingly turned interest in recent decades, recognizable in a number of publications and larger exhibitions in Frankfurt 1977, Rome 1981, Munich 1984 and Lübeck 1989. His work is one of the main focuses of the Lübeck Museum Behnhaus .


“Schlossers sent me stupendous things from Cornelius and Overbeck. The case occurs for the first time in the history of art that significant talents want to educate themselves backwards, to return to their mother's lap and thus to establish a new art epoch. "

“Equiti Federico Overbeckio. Dilecto filio salutem et Apostolicam Benedictionem. Cum haud ignoramus, quae tue sit pietas, quaeque excellens picturae scientia,… Etsi non dubitamus, quin pro egregia tua religione, et peritia, omnes ingenii tui vires in ejusmodi opus perficiendum intentissimo studio sis collatturus, ea tamen cum nobis summopere omnia cordi sint quae ad hominum pietatem fovendam conducere possunt, has tibi scribimus litteras, qui tibi stimulos addimus, ut omni alacritate in hoc suspecto laboratories persistens,… Atque interim a clementissimo bonorum omnium largitore Deo humiliter exposcimus, ut divi sempera tibnesse , acque praecipue paternae Nostrae in te caritatem testem Apostolicam Benedictionem Tibi ipsi, Delecte Filii, amanter impertimur. "

“Knight Friedrich Overbeck! Greetings to the beloved Son and apostolic blessings. We know how dutiful you are, how excellent you are in the art of painting ... No less do we know about your extraordinary beliefs and skills, all of your talents that may come together when you complete the design of the work. Most of all, we care about everything that promotes people's faith. We write this to you so that you will be spurred on to keep up your enthusiasm for the work ... In the meantime we humbly request God, the source of all good gifts, that he may always be graciously close to you in his divine grace. We assure you of our fatherly love and give you, beloved son, our apostolic blessing. "

- Pope Pius IX. , Breve to Friedrich Overbeck dated September 2, 1850


  • The painter and the girl. around 1810–1820 ( full text [Wikisource]).

Major works

Friedrich Overbeck: "Entry of Christ into Jerusalem" 1808/24, lithograph by Otto Speckter  1831
Triumph of Religion in the Arts (1840)
1866 second version for the Antwerp Academy of Arts
  • 1857 Assumption of the Virgin Mary (installed in Cologne Cathedral )
  • 1861 Seven sacraments (cardboard drafts for the Orvieto Cathedral ), including:
  • 1862–64 Baptism , Neue Pinakothek, Munich

Illustrations (selection)

  • In: Collection of original etchings by Düsseldorf artists. Schulgen, Düsseldorf 1850.




  • 1828 Corresponding member of the Accademia Properziana del Subiaso in Assisi
  • 1829 honorary member of the Munich Art Academy
  • 1830 honorary member of the Breslau artists' association
  • 1831 honorary member and professor of the Accademia di San Luca in Rome, 1837 councilor
  • 1836 honorary member of the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna
  • 1841 honorary member of the Academy of Fine Arts in Ravenna
  • 1841 honorary member of the Arti et Amicitiae Society in Amsterdam
  • 1843 Free member of the Institute of Fine Arts in London
  • 1844 Foreign member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts
  • 1844 member of the academy in Florence
  • 1845 member of the Royal Academy of Arts in Berlin
  • 1849 Honorary Member of the Ecclesiological Society of Ireland
  • 1850 honorary member of the Accademia Ligustica di Belle Arti in Genoa
  • 1851 member of the Accademia Etrusca in Cortona
  • 1853 Honorary President of the Société universelle pour l'encouragement des arts de l'industrie in London
  • 1856 honorary member of the Academy of Arts in Perugia
  • 1859 honorary member of the Dürer Association in Vienna
  • 1860 member of the Accademia dei Quiriti in Rome
  • 1861 associate member of the Antwerp Academy of Arts, 1863 full member
  • 1862 honorary member of the Academy of Arts in Milan
  • 1864 Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in Boston
  • 1864 honorary member and master of the Free German College for Sciences, Arts and General Education in Frankfurt
  • 1867 Corresponding member of the Société Royale pour l'encouragement des Beaux-Arts in Antwerp
  • (Year?) Board member of the Arch-Brotherhood of Campo Santo Teutonico


See also

Exhibitions (selection)


Exhibition catalogs

  • The Nazarenes , exhibition catalog, Frankfurt am Main 1977.
  • Johann Friedrich Overbeck (1789–1869). Paintings and drawings. Catalog of the exhibition in the Museum of Art and Cultural History of the Hanseatic City of Lübeck, ed. by Andreas Blühm and Gerhard Gerkens , Lübeck 1989
  • Friedrich Overbeck - Italia and Germania Information about the graphic preliminary work of the painting and the intentions of the artist. Catalog of the exhibition February 20 - April 14, 2002. Publisher: Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, Munich
  • Religion, power, art: the Nazarenes; [on the occasion of the exhibition “Religion, Power, Art. The Nazarenes ”, Schirn-Kunsthalle Frankfurt, April 15 - July 24, 2005] , ed. by Max Hollein and Christa Steinle. Cologne: König 2005 ISBN 3-88375-940-6

Museum catalogs

  • Wulf Schadendorf: Museum Behnhaus. The house and its rooms. Painting, sculpture, handicrafts (= Lübeck museum catalogs 3). 2nd expanded and changed edition. Museum for Art a. Cultural history d. Hansestadt, Lübeck 1976, pp. 97-104


  • Gerhard Ahrens : How the estate of the painter Friedrich Overbeck was sold in three decades. In: Journal of Lübeck History . Volume 93, 2013, pp. 253-278.
  • Keith Andrews: I Nazareni. Milan 1967.
  • R. Bachleitner: The Nazarenes. Munich 1976.
  • Brigitte Heise: Johann Friedrich Overbeck. The artistic work and its literary and autobiographical sources. Böhlau Verlag, Cologne 1999.
  • Paul Hagen : Friedrich Overbeck's handwritten estate in the Lübeck city library. Schmidt-Römhild, Lübeck 1926 (= Publications of the City Library of the Free and Hanseatic City of Lübeck. 2).
  • Karl Georg Heise: Overbeck and his circle. Munich 1928.
  • Margaret Howitt: Friedrich Overbeck his life and work; portrayed from his letters and other documents in the handwritten estate. Herder, Freiburg i. B. 1886 (Volume 1: 1789–1833, digitized ; Volume 2: 1833–1869 digitized )
  • Isabel Sellheim : The family of the painter Friedrich Overbeck (1789-1896) in genealogical overviews , Volume 104 of the German Family Archives , Neustadt an der Aisch 1989 ISBN 3-7686-5091-X , GW ISSN  0012-1266 .
  • Michael Thimann: Hieroglyphics of Mourning. Johann Friedrich Overbeck's "Lamentation of Christ". In: Marburg Yearbook for Art History . 28, 2001, pp. 191-234.
  • Michael Thimann: Friedrich Overbeck and the image concepts of the 19th century (= studies of Christian art. Volume 8). Schnell and Steiner, Regensburg 2014, ISBN 978-3-7954-2728-3 .
  • Peter Vignau-Wilberg: The Luke Brothers around Johann Friedrich Overbeck and the renewal of fresco painting in Rome. Deutscher Kunstverlag, Berlin-Munich 2011, ISBN 978-3-422-07061-5 .

Entries in reference books

Web links

Commons : Friedrich Overbeck  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Friedrich Overbeck  - Sources and full texts

References and comments

  1. ^ Friedrich Overbeck. In: Father-city sheets . Lübeck, March 20, 1904.
  2. From the life of Friedrich Overbeck. Letters to parents and siblings, introduced and edited by Prof. Dr. P. Hasse. In: Allg. Cons. monthly 1887, IX – XII, 1888 I. II.
  3. This is how Overbeck wrote to his teacher in his later years
  4. On June 9th, 1806, he wrote to his mother: “... It will certainly not prevent me from loving Mr. Peroux less for this reason than before, only it is regrettable that he did not get as far as he did in art to treat such a good man would be ... "
  5. ^ CL Roeck: Letter of recommendation from Karl Ludwig Roeck to Overbeck. In: The car. Lübeck contributions to culture and society. 1932, pp. 43-44 ( full text [ Wikisource ]).
  6. ^ Ostini, Pietro. In: Salvador Miranda : The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. ( Florida International University website , English)
  7. ^ Peter Vignau-Wilberg: The Lukas Brothers around Johann Friedrich Overbeck and the renewal of fresco painting in Rome. The wall and ceiling paintings in Casa Bartholdy (1816/17) and in the Tasso room of Casino Massimo (1819–1829). Deutscher Kunstverlag, Berlin 2011.
  8. See illustration by Karl Hoffmann: Overbeck adopted Hoffmann's wife as an adult after the death of his wife.
  9. ^ Albrecht Weiland: The Campo Santo Teutonico in Rome and its grave monuments. Volume I, Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau 1988, ISBN 3-451-20882-2 , pp. 203 ff.
  10. Philipp Stein: Goethe letters. Volume 6, 1905, p. 287.
  11. ^ A b Alessandro Atti: Della munificenza di sua santità Papa Pio IX, felicemente regnante. 1864, p. 308 f.
  12. digitized version