Düsseldorf School


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Düsseldorf School

 

the most influential of the regional schools of 19th-century German painting. Its emergence was connected with the founding in 1819 of the Academy of Arts in Dusseldorf. P. von Cornelius, the academy’s first director, sought to guide the Düsseldorf school away from real life and toward academicism and reactionary romanticism. Under a later director of the academy, W. von Schadow (1826-59), diverse tendencies began to appear in the school. Romantic themes from the German Middle Ages were interpreted in different styles—superficial and illustrative (C. F. Sohn, T. Hildebrandt), idealized and heroic (A. Rethel), and anti-Catholic (K. F. Lessing). Realistic landscape painting also developed (J. W. Schirmer, O. Achenbach, and A. Achenbach) as well as genre painting. During the Revolution of 1848-49 the genre painting of this school acquired a penetrating social criticism, for example, the pictures devoted to the working class by J. P. Hasenclever and C. Hübner. F. Engels encouraged this tendency (K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 2, pp. 519-20). After the revolution this tendency diminished; the genre painters of the Düsseldorf school (L. Knaus and B. Vautier) carefully studied the everyday life of the peasantry, depicting its patriarchal structure in a somewhat idyllic vein.

REFERENCE

Hiitt, W. Die Düsseldorfer Malerschule, 1819-1869. Leipzig, 1964.