HUMMEL, Johann Erdmann
(b. 1769, Kassel, d. 1852, Berlin)


German painter. His pioneering realist genre scenes from 1812-1820 were among the first to develop in style and theme essential characteristics of the first period of Biedermeier art. Because of the transitional nature of these paintings and their significance as models for subsequent Biedermeier realism, their influences are crucial and shed light on the origins of that style. The sources are 17th century Dutch art, Zopfstil painting, the indigenous Berlin tradition of realism, and 15th century Northern Renaissance art which was just being discovered at this time.

Hummel studied from 1780 to 1792 at the Academy of Art in Kassel. From 1792 until 1799 he was in Italy where he contacted German landscape painters who were against the then prevailing classical style of Anton Raphael Mengs. In 1799 he returns to Germany, first to Kassel then to Berlin, where he settled. In Berlin he worked as an illustrator and engraver. In his work he over-emphasized the design perspective, which earned him the nickname "Perspective-Hummel".

In 1809 he became Professor at the Academy of Art, where he taught architecture, projection, and optics.

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