Franz Ittenbach (1813-1879)

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Self-Portrait, 1857

Franz Ittenbach was a German religious painter from Königswinter, North Rhine-Westphalia, which is at the foot of the Drachenfels. Ittenbach began his art education as a student of Kaufmann and then left to study under Franz Katz in Cologne. In 1832, Ittenbach went to become a pupil, at the age of 19, of the Düsseldorf Academy, where he also received private lessons from its president, Schadow. He was a member of the Nazarene movement and associated himself mainly with three of his friends and fellow students: Karl and Andreas Müller and Ernst Deger. The four men travelled about in Germany, studying and painting together. From 1839 to 1842, Ittenbach lived in Italy. Upon his return, he stayed in Munich for some time. In 1849, he returned to Düsseldorf, and from 1859 until his death, he was a member of the artist club “Malkasten”.

Madonna and Child, 1855

Ittenbach was exceedingly religious and persistently declined any commissions for mythological or pagan subjects. As a rule, he devoted his energies exclusively to church decoration. He would precede the execution of his greatest works with devout religious exercises, including confession and communion.

Blessings for Christ, 1878

His finest paintings are said to be found at in the Church of St. Remigius in Bonn and in Breslau in a church dedicated to the same saint. There is also a remarkable Holy Family dated 1861, painted for Prince Liechtenstein in his private chapel near Vienna. Most of his other works can be found in various Catholic churches in Germany. His only important fresco was painted in 1844 in a church in Remagen, Germany.

The Holy Family

Ittenbach was a popular painter in court circles, a member of most of the European academies, and the recipient of many medals and decorations. He painted a few portraits, but they were unimportant compared to his famous altarpieces.

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