Mountain Scene, 1796
Oil on canvas, 110 x 161 cm
Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne
A group of German painters based in Rome in the early nineteenth century had a most decisive effect on the development of German art. The foremost of these artists was Joseph Anton Koch. He was born in Obergiblen in the Tyrol in 1768 but lived in Rome from spring 1795 to his death in 1839. Here he painted the 'heroic landscapes' which form the major part of his work. His Mountain scene of 1796, one of his earliest paintings, shows his attempt to continue the tradition of seventeenth-century landscape painting and to relate the heroic grandeur of nature to the human life that is dependent on it.