Johann Friedrich Reiffenstein

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Johann Friedrich Reiffenstein (also Reifstein and Reffenstein ; born November 22, 1719 in Ragnit , East Prussia ; † October 6, 1793 in Rome ) was a German Cicerone for prominent travelers, painters , antiquarians and art agents during the Enlightenment in Rome.

Johann Friedrich Reiffenstein (1719–1793) ( Angelica Kauffmann )


After studying law at the University of Königsberg , Reiffenstein got to know the Leipzig scholar and initiator of the German societies Johann Christoph Gottsched in his capacity as secretary of the German Society in Königsberg . After a stopover at the Hessian court in Kassel, he accompanied Count Rochus zu Lynar's son on his study trip from 1760–1762 through Europe and so came to Italy, where he was convinced to stay in Rome by Johann Joachim Winckelmann and his circle. In 1767 he moved into his final apartment on the ground floor of the Palazzo Zuccari . In 1768 Ivan Ivanovich Shuvalov appointed him agent of the St. Petersburg Academy in Rome. This is how cork models of the classical architectural monuments by Antonio Chichi and plaster casts came to Petersburg. Duke Ernst II of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg appointed him his art agent in Rome in 1772 and with his help expanded the collections at Friedenstein Castle in Gotha . In 1778, through the mediation of Friedrich Melchior Grimm , Reiffenstein advanced to become the art collector of Tsarina Katharina II , with whom he also corresponded regularly until 1793. The correspondence clearly shows how Katharina's great art and manuscript collections were built up.

As Cicerone he was a temporary companion to Goethe on his Italian trip 1786–1788 and Johann Gottfried Herders 1788–1790.

From 1782 until his death he had a close relationship with the painter Angelika Kauffmann .

Reiffenstein had been an honorary member of the Prussian Academy of Arts in Berlin (Fine Arts Section) since 1790 .


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