HESS, Peter von
(b. 1792, Düsseldorf, d. 1871, München)


German painter, known for his genre and history paintings. At the age of 15, he and his younger brother Heinrich left Dusseldorf with their family and came to Munich. There he studied at the Academy from 1809 to 1814, soon however distancing himself from supporters of the classical.

As a young painter he captured the campaign battles against Napoleon. In 1816-17 he undertook a study trip to Italy, during which time he discovered his stylistic preference for combing Italian landscape with rustic genre scenes. In his genre-landscapes Hess moved toward a sort of Biedermeier realism, which was, in equal measure, true to nature as well as idealized. In 1820 he was named Bavarian Court Painter. In 1824 he was one of the founding members of the Munich Kunstverein (artist guild), which soon became a forum for a more civic minded approach to art.

Hess was a popular painter of battles and historical scenes and painted extensive battle cycles for Munich's King Ludwig I, as well as for Czar Nicholas I in St. Petersburg. Today his monumental scenes often seem to be overtly theatrical; however, on closer look, they hold a certain fascination due to their very precise attention to detail.