Peter von Cornelius

Peter von Cornelius ( born September 23, 1783 in Dusseldorf, † March 6, 1867 in Berlin) was a German painter and one of the main representatives of the Nazarene style.


Cornelius was the son of the painter Aloys Cornelius and his wife Anna Cosse. He learned his first artistic training from his father, who was a lecturer at the Academy of Fine Arts in Dusseldorf.

Until 1809 Cornelius was at the Academy worked, and later ( 1819-1824 ), whose director and also participated frequently in the Weimar price tasks by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. 1816 appeared his illustration on Goethe's Faust I, in which he gave up his initially baroque classicism and turned to neo-Gothic forms. As its predecessor, the painter Ernst Ludwig Riepenhausen and Franz Pforr may apply.

From 1809 to 1811 Cornelius lived in the house of a patron, the publisher Friedrich Wilmans, in Frankfurt am Main; created two images of Wilmans and his wife. In 1811 he went to Rome, worked in the Casa Bartholdy and became friends there with the painter Friedrich Overbeck. This took him into the St. Luke, who is regarded as the nucleus of the Nazarene.

1819 appointed Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria Cornelius to Munich, where he was to make, among other things, the Glyptothek new. Although the relationship between artist and regent was very difficult, Cornelius was in 1825 entrusted with the management of the Academy of Fine Arts. As support for its diverse tasks Cornelius brought some of his students Düsseldorf such as Hermann Anschütz, Wilhelm Kaulbach and Adam Eberle, which later joined Moritz von Schwind. In 1841 it came to a quarrel with the king and Cornelius moved to Berlin. The Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm IV charged him with the artistic design of the proposed new Domgebäudes and the cemetery hall next to it, sometimes called the king Campo Santo. Count Atanazy Raczyński gave him the south wing of his palace as a studio. In 1843 Cornelius entered the lawless society to Berlin. Because of King Friedrich Wilhelm IV planned Domneubau not on the work it past the foundations and the Campo Santo has not been fully completed, were the designs on which Cornelius worked for almost 20 years, never to be put into reality.


In his monumental works he attempted a revival of German fresco painting, with his real talent less in color than likely in the figure drawing is clear. In his late work he leaned heavily on the classic form of Raphael.

Illustrations (selection)

  • Aventiure of the Nibelung. Prêtre, Berlin 1817. Digitized edition of the University and State Library Dusseldorf
  • Pictures to Goethe 's Faust. Wenner, Franckfurt am Main in 1816. Digitized edition of the University and State Library Dusseldorf
  • Le Paradis du Dante. Avec texte explicatif, dessiné au trait par Pierre de Cornelius. Boerner, Leipzig 1830. Digitized edition of the University and State Library Dusseldorf
  • Drafts to art historical frescoes in the loggias of the Royal Pinakothek in Munich. Dürr, Leipzig 1875 ( Digitized edition )


Peter von Cornelius is also the namesake of Cornelius price of the city of Dusseldorf.