Anselm Feuerbach

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Feuerbach, Anselm


Born Sept. 12, 1829, in Speyer; died Jan. 4, 1880, in Venice. German painter. Grandson of the criminologist A. Feuerbach and nephew of the philosopher L. Feuerbach.

Feuerbach studied at the academies of Düsseldorf (1845–48), Munich (1848–50), and Paris (1851–54). Beginning in 1855, he lived mainly in Italy—from 1857 to 1873 in Rome and from 1876 in Venice. His work was influenced by G. Courbet, P. P. Rubens, and the 16th-century Italian masters.

Feuerbach sought to revive monumental art in the Renaissance style, and his works reflect the influence of neo-idealism and neo-classicism. His enormous canvases, which depict scenes from Greek and Roman mythology, are marked by a stately, idealized quality. They are distinguished for the material tangibility of their figures, as well as for their flowing rhythm and decorative tonal effects. Important examples include Iphigeneia (1862; Hesse Museum, Darmstadt) and The Banquet (1869; Kunsthalle, Karlsruhe).


Anselm Feuerbach: Gemälde und Zeichnungen. Munich, 1976.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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While Friedrich von Amerling and Anselm Feuerbach's fine portraits of themselves, dated 1867 and 1875 respectively, are models of conventional representation, in the expressionist Richard Gerstl's confrontational Nude Self-Portrait with Pelette (1908), the artist depicts his skinny body with bold, diagonal brushstrokes, and stares aggressively out at us.
Hofmannsthal's elimination of Iphigenia from Elektra is seen as a counter to the iconographic power of Anselm Feuerbach's painting Iphigenia, and as a deliberate revision of the Greece embodied in German classicism.
Like his German contemporaries Anselm Feuerbach and Hans von Marees, Bocklin enjoyed long sojourns in Italy, where his imagination was fired with visions of antiquity, as if on a sunny excursion to Capri he might stumble upon no less an adversary than Polyphemus.