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Peter Von Cornelius

judgment, frescoes, josephs and munich

CORNELIUS, PETER VON, one of the first masters of the modern German school of painting, was b. at Dusseldorf, 23d Sept., 1787, and studied under Langer in the acad omy of his native town. When only 19 years of age, lie painted some remarkable fres coes for the cupola of the old church of Neuss. Four years later, he gave still more unmistakable proofs of a creative fancy in his illustrations of Goethe's Faust, and the Nibelungen Lied. In 1811, he went to Rome. This journey exercised a profound. influence on the whole of his future career. The great importance of the early masters became ever clearer to him as he studied their choicest productions. He gained a wide reputation, while at Rome, by two cartoons, " Joseph's Interpretation of the Dream," and "Joseph's Recognition of his Brethren." In 1819, he was called to Munich, and entered the service of the then crown-prince of Bavaria. Here he remained till 1841, and executed those grand works on which his fame mainly rests, and which may be divided into two classes, pagan and Christian, the former of which comprises the largo frescoes in the saloon of the Glyptothek, all illustrating stories of the Greek gods and heroes, as also representations of several Hesiodic myths, and of the various incidents of the Trojan war; while the latter, or Christian series, begun after the completion of the former in 1830, consists of frescoes on New Testament scenes, extending from the "Incarnation" to the "Judgment," and decorate the "Ludwig's church" in Munich, which was built for the purpose of affording scope for the genius of Cornelius. The

"Judgment" is the largest fresco in the world, larger even than Michael Angelo's "Judgment" in the Sixtine gallery. In 1841, C. was invited by the king of Prussia to Berlin, where he was appointed director of the Berlin academy. Among his pro ductions in the Prussian capital are the frescoes for the Campo Santo, or royal burial place. Opinion is divided regarding the merits of Cornelius. By his own countrymen he is extremely admired; French critics, on the other hand, regard him as more a thinker than an artist, sacrificing to his conception both truth of color and expression. He is admitted to have been a profoundly creative genius, but not a painter. He formed, however, a numerous school, from which have gone forth many illustrious pupils; but he lived to see it losing hold on public sympathy. Ile died in the 80th year of his age, 6th March, 1867.