OVERBECK, Friedrich
(b. 1789, Lübeck, d. 1869, Roma)

Portrait of the Painter Franz Pforr

c. 1810
Oil on canvas, 62 x 47 cm
Nationalgalerie, Berlin

The Nazarenes painted quasi-devotional portraits of each other and their ideal wives or longed-for lovers. This portrait represents an example.

It was under Franz Pforr's influence that Overbeck turned to old German masters, such as Holbein, Cranach and Dürer. In this painting he created a monument to his friend. From an arched Gothic window Pforr is challenging the viewer with a penetrating but pious eye, as if asking: "Why have you not found the peace of piety?" His wife is deep in reverence, as if blessed by the lily, and the church tower provides an appropriate background. Pforr's sign, the cross over the skull, the vine tendrils, the watchful cat or falcon of hope, are all symbolically included.