ROOS, Johann Heinrich
(b. 1631, Reipoltskirchen, d. 1685, Frankfurt am Main)


German painter, part of a family of painters and etchers. He was the most important German animal painter of the 17th century; his realistic views of cattle, goats and sheep in the gentle sunshine of southern landscapes were much copied in Germany and Holland until the early 19th century. Philipp Peter Roos was his son.

His family left their home in the Palatinate c. 1637, fleeing the Thirty Years War, and moved to Amsterdam c. 1640. There, Roos trained (1647-51) in history painting with Guilliam Dujardin (1597-after 1647), in landscape with Cornelis de Bie (c. 1621-1664) and in portraiture with Barent Graat (1628-1709). However, the younger Italian-inspired landscape painters Nicolaes Berchem and Karel Dujardin were to prove more influential on Roos's development of the pastoral idyll.

He left Amsterdam in 1651-52; in 1653 he was working in Mainz, and from 1654 to 1659 he was employed at the court of Landgrave Ernest of Hesse in Rheinfels, where he painted a portrait of A Prince (1654, Kurpfälzisches Museum, Heidelberg), religious scenes (1655; destroyed) for the castle chapel and the first pastoral idylls. After 1659 Roos painted further portraits in the Palatinate and Mainz, before becoming court painter in 1664 to Charles Ludwig, Elector of the Palatinate, in Heidelberg. Because of unsatisfactory working conditions there he moved to Frankfurt am Main in 1667, where he soon established himself. He died from injuries sustained when his house caught fire.