Rome as a city (and as history) represented the geographical fact of a place where the unity of art and life, of nature and the spirit (which was the focus of romanticism’s and particularly German romanticism’s, dream) seemed manifest. While the German enthusiasm for Rome was not without parallel in the minds of artists of other lands, the more obsessional aspects remained uniquely German—so much so that it would hardly be an exaggeration to propose that, for most of the nineteenth century, Rome was artistically a German colony. — Kermit S. Champa

Even before the death of Pforr on 16 June 1812, the Brotherhood were developing in new directions. Their presence in the Roman community had forced a division between classicists and medievalists. It was probably one of the former, the landscape painter Johann Christian Reinhart, who dubbed them ‘Nazarenes’ in the first place. They found themselves turned into the leaders of a movement enthusiastically supported by Koch, the Riepenhausens and several apologists for the Catholic revival, Rumohr, Schlosser and Count Stolberg. Overbeck’s admission to the Catholic Church on Palm Sunday, 1813, further emphasized the movement’s involvement with religious dogmatism. — William Vaughan


Reception, reputation, and influence

Cultural Contexts



Andrews, Keith. The Nazarenes. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1964.

Champa, Kermit S., and Kate H. Champa. German Paintings of the 19th Century. Exhibition catalogue. New Haven: Yale University Art Gallery, 1970.

Gossman, Lionel. Unwilling Moderns: The Nazarene Painters of the Nineteenth Century. Victorian Web [Complete text in the Victorian Web].

Grewe, Cordula. Painting the Sacred in the Age of Romanticism. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate Publishing, 2009.

Vaughan, William. German Romantic Painting. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1980.

von Wörndle, Heinrich. Josef Führichs Werke. Vienna: Verlag von Artaria, 1914,

Witemeyer, High. George Eliot and the Visual Arts. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979. [especially chapter 6.]

Last modified 26 September 2016