HETSCH, Philipp Friedrich von
(b. 1758, Stuttgart, d. 1838, Stuttgart)


German painter, part of a German/Danish family of painters and architects. At the age of 13, against the wishes of his parents who intended him to become a court musician like his father Christian Heinrich, Hetsch entered the Ducal Military Academy (Herzogliche Militärakademie or 'Karlsakademie') to train as an artist. The Militärakademie incorporated the Académie des Arts, founded by the court painter Nicolas Guibal (1725-1784) in 1761 on the model of the French Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture. Its training was wide-ranging, and, in response to the literary requirements then demanded of history painters, included such subjects as French, Italian and Latin, the history of art, mythology and the natural sciences. Hetsch's practical training, under Guibal, a history painter, and to a lesser extent the landscapist Friedrich Harper (1725-1806), was marked by the eclecticism of the transition between late Baroque and Rococo, and the more up-to-date Neo-classical style. This informed, and in part hindered, his entire career as a painter. He also studied with Joseph-Marie Vien in Paris in 1780-82, and he met Jacques-Louis David in Paris in 1783.

In 1780 he was appointed Court Painter to Duke of Württemberg (Stuttgart). In 1787 he became honorary member of Accademia delle Belle Arti, Bologna. Between 1787 and 1794 he was professor at Karlsakademie, Stuttgart. In 1795 he was appointed Director of painting gallery at Ludwigsburg Palace, the home of Dukes of Württemberg. In 1801 he became member of the Prussian Academy of Arts. In 1808 he was ennobled and retired as Court Painter.

His son, Gustav Friedrich Hetsch (1788-1864), was a Danish architect active in Copenhagen.

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