Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Tischbein

1751 - 1829

About the artist

Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Tischbein, known as the Goethe Tischbein (1751, Haina – 1829, Eutin), was a German painter from the Tischbein family of artists. He began his artistic studies with his uncle, Johann Jacob Tischbein in Hamburg. From 1772 to 1773, he lived in Holland, studying the Old Masters. After 1777, he established himself as a portrait painter at the Prussian court in Berlin and became a member of the Masonic Lodge.
He travelled to Rome in 1779, thanks to a stipend from the Kunsthochschule Kassel. During this period, his style changed from Rococo to Classicism. When he ran out of money in 1781, he settled in Zurich.

In 1783, he was able to return to Rome with a grant from Duke Ernest II. He stayed in Italy until 1799 and became friends with Goethe, traveling with him to Naples in 1787. Tischbein’s most famous painting, “Goethe in the Campagna,” was painted in this period. During his last ten years in Naples, he was director of the Accademia di Belle Arti di Napoli. Forced to leave in 1799 because of war, the painter went to northern Germany, where he worked for Grand Duke Peter I after 1808. From then on, he was a resident of Eutin until his dead in 1829.