New acquisitions: Eugen Napoleon Neureuther

By on April 14, 2017

The National Museum has acquired a Roman city view from 1837 by German painter Eugen Napoleon Neureuther. He was mainly active in Munich, but did a trip in Italy during the years 1837-1838. The painting with the view from the artist quarter to the Pincio Hill was added during his time in Rome.

Eugen Napoleon Neureuther (1806-1882) studied at the arts academy in Munich. Together with his brother, he traveled to Italy in February 1837. On April 6, the brothers Neureuther arrived in Rome, where they stayed until October the same year, with a break for the summer months. It was meanwhile in Rome that the painting with the view of Pincio and the Trinità dei Monti church was added. The view appears to be from a house on the eastern side of Via dei Due Macelli in the artistic quarter of the Spanish Steps, overlooking the farm and settlement on the southwest end of Pincio Hill. To the left you can see the stairs leading up to the place in front of Trinità dei Monti from today’s Piazza Mignatelli. Appearance in the middle ground is a tall building with elevated middle part. That is Palazzo Zuccari, which played an important role in German artistic life in Rome. In the early 19th century, Palazzo Zuccari was a residence of the Prussian Consul General, Jakob Salomon Bartholdy. He allowed four German painters from the artist group Nazarene to perform murals in the palace (1816-1817, moved to Alte Nationalgarie in Berlin 1887). One of them was Neureuther’s teacher Peter Cornelius. Palazzo Zuccari’s connection to German culture, which in Neureuther’s case also was personal, was probably a reason why the palace had such a prominent place in his composition.

The settlement is lit by an afternoon or evening light, while black rain clouds seem to have just passed. Neureuther combines topographic precision with an eye-catching observation of volatile weather phenomena that are typical of contemporary landscape painting. The foreground rooftops and anonymous, torn façades with clogged shutters and laundry on dry are an apparently randomly observed view of reality. In fact, it is a geometric well balanced composition. The image gets depth and credibility through the cut-out body on the left side, where a shaded terrace may be the observation point from which the artist has studied the city landscape.

Neureuthers ambitious Rome view now complements the acquisitions of French and Danish paintings, performed in Italy during the first half of the 1800s, as the National Museum earlier made. The acquisition has been made possible through donations from the Wiros Fund. The National Museum has no own means of acquiring arts and crafts for so collections is enriched by gifts and private foundation and funds.

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