Johann Friedrich Overbeck
Johann Friedrich Overbeck, (born July 3, 1789, Imperial Free City of Lübeck—died Nov. 12, 1869, Rome), Romantic painter of Christian religious subjects, who was leader of a group of German artists known as the Nazarenes, or Lucas Brotherhood (Lukasbund).

In 1806 Overbeck entered the Academy of Vienna, where, disappointed in the academic approach to teaching, he and Franz Pforr in 1809 founded the Lucas Brotherhood. They sought to revive the medieval artists’ guilds and to renew the arts through Christian faith (in 1813 Overbeck joined the Roman Catholic Church). For artistic inspiration they turned to Albrecht Dürer and to Italian Renaissance art, particularly the works of Perugino and early Raphael.

In 1810 the Lucas Brotherhood went to Rome. Their style was characterized by precise outlines; clear, bright colours; and an emphasis on Christian symbolism. Communally, the brotherhood executed the frescoes of “Joseph Sold by His Brethren” at the Casa Bartholdy (1816) and the interior pavilion (1817–29) at the Villa Massimo in Rome. In the Portiuncula Chapel at Assisi, Overbeck painted “Rose Miracle of St. Francis” (1829), usually considered his major work.

As he advanced in years, Overbeck’s painting became pallid and stereotyped. Yet these late works greatly influenced Christian devotional art of the 19th century and the paintings of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. His more vital early pictures and drawings, however, were rediscovered and appreciated early in the 20th century.

Encyclopædia Britannica


Portrait of the Painter Franz Pforr
c. 1810
Oil on canvas, 62 x 47 cm
Nationalgalerie, Berlin

Marriage of the Virgin

Christus am Oelberg


Easter Morning

Christ Resurrects the Daughter of Jairus
Pen with black ink over pencil, watercolour, 307 x 373 mm
Staatliche Museen, Berlin

Italy and Germany

Selbstportrat des Kunstlers mit Frau und Sohn Alfons

Maria und Elisabeth mit dem Jesus- und Johannesknaben

Joseph Being Sold By His Brothers

The Miracle of the Roses of Saint Francis of Assisi
Oil on canvas
Museum of Fine Arts, Leipzig

The Triumph of Religion in Art

Freskenzyklus des Casa Bartholdy in Rom, Szene: Die sieben mageren Jahre

Freskenzyklus im Casa Massimo in Rom, Tasso-Saal, Szene:
Der Erzengel Gabriel gebietet Gottfried von Bouillon die Befreiung Jerusalems


Christ's Entry into Jerusalem