Portrait of the Painter Franz Pforr

Friedrich Overbeck1810/1865

Alte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Alte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Berlin, Germany

Overbeck painted his idealized portrait of Franz Pforr in Rome in 1810. It is one of the most important Nazarene works and was intended to show his friend in a state of complete happiness. Overbeck created this work in response to a dream of Pforr’s, in which the latter saw him self as a history painter in a room lined with old masters, entranced by the presence of a beautiful woman. In Overbeck’s painting Pforr, finely dressed in old German costume, sits in the arch of a Gothic window. Like a Madonna, his “wife” is reading in the Bible as she kneels, holding her handwork. The back ground of an old German town and an Italian coast line evokes the Nazarene ideal of the inseparable bond uniting German and Italian art.


  • Title: Portrait of the Painter Franz Pforr
  • Creator: Friedrich Overbeck
  • Date Created: 1810/1865
  • Physical Dimensions: w47.0 x h62.0 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Technique and material: Oil on canvas
  • Inv.-No.: A II 381
  • ISIL-No.: DE-MUS-815114
  • External link: Alte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Copyrights: Text: © Prestel Verlag / Alte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Photo: © b p k - Photo Agency / Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Jörg P. Anders
  • Collection: Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Acquired 1887
  • Artist biography: Friedrich Overbeck was a German painter. From 1804 to 1806 he received drawing lessons from Joseph Nicolaus Preoux. He was accepted to the academy of Vienna but left after four years due to his discontent over the classicism expounded there. He went to Rome with Fran Pforr and Ludwig Vogel, where he became a member of the Nazarene Brotherhood, a Romantic movement that sought to revive piety in German art in the manner of Raphel, among others. Overbeck himself lived in a monastic confraternity and rejected several offers for professorships at different academies of art. Nazarene artworks are characterized by their studied composition using light, shade and colour. One of his biggest commissions was the decoration of the Casa Bartholdy (1818) with frescoes depicting scenes of Joseph and his brethren, executed in collaboration with Cornelius, Veit and Schadow.
  • Artist Place of Death: Rome, Italy
  • Artist Place of Birth: Lübeck, Germany
  • Artist Dates: 1789-07-04/1869-11-12

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