Philipp Otto Runge

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Runge, Philipp Otto


Born July 23, 1777, in Wolgast, Mecklenburg; died Dec. 2, 1810, in Hamburg. German painter, graphic artist, and art theorist.

Runge attended the Copenhagen Academy of Arts from 1799 to 1801 and the Dresden Academy of Arts from 1801 to 1803. He was one of the founders of romanticism in German painting. In 1802–03, Runge worked on the allegorical painting The Times of Day, of which only the first finished version of The Morning (1808, Kunsthalle, Hamburg) has been preserved. The painting was intended to embody the mystical spirituality of nature as expressed in the Christian pantheism of J. Boehme. The most significant of Runge’s works, The Times of Day was important in the artist’s research in optics (Color spectra…, 1810). Runge’s portraits were distinguished by fidelity to nature and by the portrayal of profound inner feeling concealed beneath a contemplative exterior (We Three, 1805, not preserved; The Artist’s Parents, 1806, Kunsthalle, Hamburg).


Hinterlassene Schriften, vols. 1–2. Hamburg, 1840–41.


Berefelt, G. P. O. Runge. Uppsala, 1961.
Bisanz, R. M. German Romanticism and Philipp Otto Runge. De Kalb, 111.1970.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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The works on his stand span 150 years, and include a group of powerful and often disturbing drawings by Richard Muller, one-time teacher of George Grosz, and a delicate i8th-century paper cut-out of a poppy by Philipp Otto Runge (price on application; Fig.
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Philipp Otto Runge (1771-1810) was a pivotal figure both for German Romanticism and 20th-century painting--not least for his colour theory and concept of the total work of art.