Johann Heinrich Ramberg

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Self-Portrait (around 1776)
Johann Heinrich Ramberg

Johann Heinrich Ramberg (born July 22, 1763 in Hainholz near Hanover ; † July 6, 1840 there ) was a German painter and satirist . As a draftsman , caricaturist and (book) illustrator, especially for literary works , friends and well-known with important publishers and poets , "he was one of the greats of his time".



Johann Heinrich Ramberg as a portrait medallion above the south terrace of Hanover's New Town Hall

Johann Heinrich was the son of the war secretary, commercial councilor and architect Johann Daniel Ramberg and Sophie Margarethe (1739-1811), daughter of the clothing maker and guard soldier Friedrich Gerstenberg in Hameln.

His great-nephews were the brothers Hermann von Ramberg (1820–1899), Austrian general , and Arthur von Ramberg (1819–1875), Austrian painter and draftsman. Both were sons of the Austrian Lieutenant Field Marshal Georg Heinrich von Ramberg , who, together with his children , was raised to the hereditary status of Austrian baron on July 25, 1849 with a diploma from January 22, 1850 in Vienna .

Johann Heinrich Ramberg married Luise Timmen in 1797 , the daughter of the innkeeper Christian Thimm . The couple had a son and three daughters, and a son of the Protestant Ramberg was fathered out of wedlock.


Lower Saxony until 1781

The unicorn cave in Harz , around 1780

Johann Heinrich Ramberg was already instructed in drawing by his father, who was himself a painter, art lover and collector . The father sought to develop and promote the talent of his son, which he awoke early on, by submitting sheets by Le Prince, drawings by La Fage , Boucher and others.

After Ramberg, after a trip through the Harz Mountains , in 1780 together with Pascha Johann Friedrich Weitsch , had made an album with a dozen "Views from the Harz Mountains" and presented this to the Hanoverian-English King Georg III. were presented in London , the king helped the 17-year-old Ramberg to study at the Royal Academy of Arts from 1781 in London.

London until 1788

Ramberg stayed in the British capital for training for almost nine years. At the Royal Academy taught him especially Benjamin West in the history painting . However, Ramberg achieved rapid success with satirical drawings, templates for engravers, portraits and an altarpiece for the German Chapel in St James's Palace . " John Boydell hired him for his Shakespeare Gallery to do the Malvolio scene from What You Want " "(owned by Yale University Art Gallery , New Haven, Connecticut ). In addition to illustrations , Ramberg - in the presence of the king, who was already mentally ill - sometimes drew jokes and caricatures within minutes, some with depictions of the monarch himself. The king, for whom such conversations had been sought, partly acknowledged Ramberg's work with great applause. In this context, Ramberg's first attempts at etching, which have become very rare for collectors, were made .

Germany and Italy until 1792

Ramberg's painted curtain for the Schlosstheater in Hanover (excerpt from a postcard from 1897)

With the support of his royal patron , the now 25-year-old Ramberg from 1788 went with his scholarship on a multi-year study tour , first in the Netherlands to the local galleries to visit, and then on to Germany. In 1789 he designed the famous theater curtain for the court theater in the Leineschloss in Hanover (which was later hung in the opera house there and burned during the air raids in 1943 ). The curtain showed Apollo on his chariot.

Johann Wilhelm Ludwig Gleim , painted by Ramberg in 1798, today in the Gleimhaus in Halberstadt

Ramberg then painted the portrait of the poet Johann Wilhelm Ludwig Gleim in Leipzig .

Ramberg trained in the art of etching in Dresden . There he met painter in 1791 with Christian Gottfried Körner . His verdict on Ramberg was "not particularly favorable". For example, in a letter from Dresden on February 2, 1791, Körner wrote to Friedrich Schiller that Ramberg was a wild, high-spirited fellow who "feels and will hardly get any further in art". Although he is not lacking in ideas, he is one-sided and just as bold in his judgments as in his drawings; “In general, he [Ramberg] would rather enjoy life his way” than continue his education through further studies . In addition, Hyacinth Holland later judged in 1888 in the Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie : "That fits completely with R., who already received greater recognition earlier than his more improvisational talent deserved."

But critics other than Körner judged Ramberg's abilities in the opposite way: Supported by various recommendations , the illustrator and caricaturist traveled on via Prague to Vienna . He stayed in both cities for a long time and, with his talent, entertained especially “the noble circles” in front of an inclined audience. On his onward journey to Italy, in 1791 in Venice, he painted Dominique Vivant Denon , who later became the general director of the French museums ( Louvre ) , while the latter made an engraving there with a portrait of Ramberg. After stays in Bologna and Parma , Rome and Naples , Ramberg finally returned to Germany.

Hanover from 1792

Grossen Buchholz after the bride of the
wind ” from September 17, 1830;
Lithograph "To the best of the poor" by Julius Giere after Ramberg
Tomb in the garden cemetery

After establishing contact with the publisher Georg Joachim Göschen in Leipzig , Ramberg's “steady and rich production of book illustrations” began, including “for the famous Wieland edition 1794–1802”, on texts by Friedrich Schiller , Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Christian Fürchtegott Gellert , but also for almanacs and paperbacks .

In 1793 Ramberg was appointed "Royal Court and Cabinet Painter" in Hanover. In addition to his position as a theater decorator, he designed - mostly with allegorical representations - wall and ceiling pictures, for example for the Hanover stock exchange and Herrenhausen Palace, as well as festive decorations (all destroyed in the Second World War, but partly documented as designs). In 1797 he married Luise Timmen , but did not acquire citizenship of the city of Hanover until 1800 . He had been friends with Hermann Gottlob von Greiffenegg since 1819 , from whose estate a large bundle of works came to the Augustinian Museum in a roundabout way .

One of his students was the painter Burchard Giesewell .

Johann Heinrich Ramberg was buried in the garden cemetery in Hanover next to his father's grave.


He is best known as a draftsman, caricaturist and illustrator (especially of the works of Boccaccio, La Fontaines, Wieland and Goethe). But a Blessing Jesus is located in Meppen in Emsland.

Honors and commemorations

  • Rambergstrasse, laid out in 1889 in the eastern part of Hanover, is named after Ramberg.
  • On the south side of the New Town Hall in Hanover, which was built until 1913, there is a relief with the portrait of Ramberg by the sculptor Peter Schumann .

From May to June 1954 the Lower Saxony State Gallery showed a special exhibition on Ramberg's paintings and drawings. In 2017 the Augustinermuseum in Freiburg im Breisgau presented in the house of the graphic collection: the special exhibition Greiffenegg and Ramberg. A friendship in drawings .


  • Jacob Christoph Carl Hoffmeister: Johann Heinrich Ramberg represented in his works. Hanover 1877 (reprint Galerie JH Bauer, Hanover 1973; complete directory of prints).
  • Ferdinand Stuttmann : Johann Heinrich Ramberg. F. Bruckmann, Munich 1929.
  • Ferdinand Stuttmann (Ed.): Letters Johann Heinrich Ramberg. State Museum, Hanover 1940.
  • Ferdinand Stuttmann (arr.): Johann Heinrich Ramberg. Illustrations for German classics ( picture catalogs of the Kestner Museum. Vol. 5: hand drawings Vol. 2). Kestner Museum, Hanover 1963.
  • Hans Henning: Copper engravings on Goethe's works. 1827-1834. Artemis-Verlag, Munich 1982, ISBN 3-7608-2743-8 .
  • Hans Henning copper engravings for Schiller's works. Memorials of Classical German Literature, Weimar 1984.
  • Hans Henning: Title copper to Wieland's works. Memorials of Classical German Literature, Weimar 1984.
  • Alfred Czech: Reineke-Fuchs illustrations in the 19th century. tuduv VG, Munich 1993, ISBN 3-88073-440-2 (plus dissertation, University of Munich 1993), p.
  • Alheidis von Rohr (Ed.): Johann Heinrich Ramberg. 1763 - Hanover - 1840. Painter for king and people ( writings of the Historisches Museum Hannover. Vol. 14). Historisches Museum, Hannover 1998, ISBN 3-910073-15-8 (catalog of the exhibition of the same name, September 9, 1998 to January 10, 1999).
  • Alexander Košenina (Ed.): Literature - Pictures. Johann Heinrich Ramberg as a book illustrator in Goethe's time. Wehrhahn Verlag, Hannover 2013, ISBN 978-3-86525-339-2 .
  • Greiffenegg and Ramberg: a friendship in drawings . Exhibition catalog, House of the Graphic Collection in the Augustinermuseum July 8, 2017 - October 3, 2017 / published by Felix Reuße for the Freiburg Municipal Museums, Augustinermuseum. ISBN 978-3-7319-0449-6
  • Johann Heinrich Ramberg / Dietrich Wilhelm Soltau: Reineke Fuchs - Reynard the Fox. 31 original drawings and newly colored etchings with excerpts from the German translation of the epic in the popular style v. Soltau | 31 original drawings and newly colored etchings with excerpts from the English translation of the burlesque poem by Soltau. Edited by Waltraud Maierhofer. VDG, Weimar 2016. ISBN 978-3-89739-854-2 .
Articles and encyclopedia contributions

Web links

Commons : Johann Heinrich Ramberg  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f g h i j Alheidis von Rohr:  Ramberg, Johann Heinrich. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 21, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2003, ISBN 3-428-11202-4 , p. 128 f. ( Digitized version ).
  2. a b c d e f g Hugo Thielen: Ramberg, (2) Johann Heinrich. In: Stadtlexikon Hannover , p. 513.
  3. ^ Hugo Thielen: Ramberg, (1) Johann Daniel. In: Stadtlexikon Hannover. P. 512f.
  4. a b c d e f g h i Hyacinth Holland:  Ramberg, Johann Heinrich . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 27, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1888, pp. 207 f.
  5. Today in the Gleimhaus in Halberstadt, after that there is a copper engraving by Christian Gottfried Schulze ( illustration in the digital portrait index ).
  6. Compare Körner's letter to Friedrich Schiller of February 1, 1791 ( Memento of the original of July 23, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. in the digitization of Schiller's correspondence with Körner. From 1784 until Schiller's death. Published by Karl Goedeke. Published by Veit & Comp., Leipzig 1874. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  7. ^ Ludwig Riegel: Johann Heinrich Ramberg's unknown works and friends: Contributions to the history of artists, corrections and additions . Freiburg i. B., Wagner, 1889
  8. ^ Czech information in connection with Adelheidis von Rohr
  9. ^ Helmut Zimmermann : The street names of the state capital Hanover. Verlag Hahnsche Buchhandlung, Hannover 1992, ISBN 3-7752-6120-6 , p. 202.
  10. ^ Helmut Knocke, Hugo Thielen: Trammplatz 2. In: Hanover Art and Culture Lexicon. P. 206 f.