Painting School of Düsseldorf
The term refers to the school of painting of the Royal Prussian Art Academy in Düsseldorf. The academy was re-opened in 1819 with Peter von Cornelius (1783-1867) as director. His own Nazarene concept of art and his efforts to create a new monumental art had a great impact on the school's educational approach. Wilhelm von Schadow (1788-1862) took over the post in 1826, taking the academy to its distinguished position. Carl Friedrich Lessing and Johann Wilhelm Schirmer initiated the "Landschaftlichen Componierverein" (Society of Landscape Composers) in 1827. Schirmer also set up a class of landscape painting two years later.
The school's approach was at first obliged to a romantic-poetic style and historical painting (Older Düsseldorf school of painting), new subjects were integrated, such as genres, portraits and still lifes - the latter already slightly hinting at Biedermeier. Additionally, the influence of a more realistic concept becomes more obvious (Younger Düsseldorf school of painting). The fame of the Düsseldorf school of painting is to a great extent based on the variety of subjects, making it the then leading place for art in Germany.
A clear stress on light, mostly in still lifes and genre scenes, is typical for the Düsseldorf school of painting; the great love for the detail in landscape paintings and the composition's spatial differentiation are other characteristic features; historical scenes are explained with clear gestures.
The Düsseldorf school of paintings, which had attracted some 4000 artist throughout the 19th century, was also popular by many international artists, for example from America (Richard Caton Woodville the Elder, Eastman Johnson and artist of the Hudson River School), Scandinavia (Adolph Tidemand), Hungary (Mihály Munkácsy) and Switzerland (Benjamin Vautier the Elder). German artists such as Andreas and Oswald Achenbach, Wilhelm Camphausen, Johann Peter Hasenclever, Carl Wilhelm Hübner and Ludwig Knaus have to be mentioned as well. Some painters, among them Theodor Hildebrandt, Christian Köhler and Carl Ferdinand Sohn, had already studied under Wilhelm von Schadow in Berlin and followed him to Düsseldorf. The Düsseldorf school of painting had its most influential time from the 1820s up into the 1860s.