HESS, Heinrich Maria von
(b. 1798, Düsseldorf, d. 1863, München)

Biography

German painter. After training (1813-17) under Peter von Langer (1756-1824) at the Akademie der bildenden Künste in Munich, he painted religious subjects under the influence of Peter Cornelius. In 1821 he joined the Lukasbrüder, and the circle around Crown Prince Ludwig I of Bavaria, in Rome. Apollo among the Muses (1824; Munich, Neue Pinakothek), painted for Maximilian I, shows Hess to be among the most gifted of the German artists working in Rome. The influence of Raphael, glowing but carefully harmonized colours, gliding figures and drapery animate this early masterpiece. Among other important works from this time are exquisitely detailed and colouristically sophisticated, intimate character portraits with early Renaissance settings, such as that of Marchesa Marianna Florenzi (1824; Munich, Neue Pinakothek), as well as fresh and lively Naturalist landscapes from the environs of Rome, for example Campagna Landscape near Ponte Nomentano (1821-26; Hamburg, Kunsthalle).

Upon the recommendation of Peter Cornelius the artist was appointed by Ludwig I as professor in 1826 at the Munich Academy. While in Munich, Heinrich Hess was commissioned by the king to design a series of large fresco cycles for the Allerheiligen-Hofkirche and the Basilika St. Bonifaz, which he carried out with the help of several young artists. As director of the studio for stained glass, which was established by King Ludwig I to rekindle the art of religious stained glass making, Hess fashioned numerous plans for church windows in many European countries.