Philipp Otto Runge is a brilliant German painter

RUNGE Philipp Otto The Great Morning.
RUNGE Philipp Otto The Great Morning.

Philipp Otto Runge is a brilliant German painter, whom cruel fate measured only 33 years of life

Philipp Otto Runge (July 23, 1777 December 2, 1810) a famous German artist of the early 19th century, an outstanding and portrait painting. He is rightfully considered one of the greatest representatives of the romantic style in European art. Unfortunately, many of the artist’s masterpieces perished in 1931 during the catastrophic fire of the Glass Palace, an exhibition hall in Munich. And most of the surviving paintings of the master today are kept in the Art Museum of Hamburg. In the biography of the talented painter, there are many interesting facts that deserve attention.

Philip Otto Runge was a very extraordinary creative person. In addition to easel painting, he illustrated books, wrote poetry, prose and fairy tales, and for the first time formulated in his scientific works the basic principles of color harmony in art.

Colour Spheres.
Colour Spheres.

Biography of Philip Otto Runge Philip Otto Runge was born on July 23, 1777 in the small German town of Wolgast, located on the Baltic coast. He was the ninth of eleven children in the family of a wealthy ship owner and merchant. Unfortunately, the boy was in very poor health and fell ill with tuberculosis in early childhood.

Due to periodic exacerbations of the disease, Philip often skipped school and stayed at home, cutting all kinds of paper figures. He wanted to become an artist, but obeying the will of his father, he was forced to go to college after graduation to study commerce. Together with his older brother Daniel in 1795, he moved to Hamburg, where he soon secretly from his parents began to attend drawing lessons from Heinrich Joachim Herterich.

Lily Of Light And Morning Star.
Lily Of Light And Morning Star.

Artist’s creativity

Gradually, he became so carried away by painting that he completely abandoned his studies at a commercial school. The young man dreamed of entering the Academy of Arts, but his father categorically refused to pay for his studies. During this difficult period of his life, Daniel came to the rescue, who supported his brother, who was 10 years old, financially and helped to realize his cherished desire.

Study To The Morning.
Study To The Morning.

In 1799, Philip Otto Runge finally became a student at the Royal Academy of Arts in Copenhagen, where, under the guidance of professors Jens Juel and Nicolai Abraham Abildgaard, he very soon achieved brilliant academic results. But the damp climate of the Danish capital was extremely unfavorable for a young man with tuberculosis. Therefore, in 1801 Runge transferred to the Academy of Arts in Dresden, where he met his colleague Caspar David Friedrich.

In 1803 Runge accidentally met Johann Wolfgang Goethe at a social reception in Weimar, who by that time was already a famous poet. Unexpectedly for those around them, a strong friendship struck up between them, which lasted until Philip’s death. Although Goethe was 28 years older than Runge, they had many common interests. Friends were in lively correspondence, sharing creative plans and philosophical ideas.

The Hulsenbeck Children.
The Hulsenbeck Children.

After graduating

After graduating from the Dresden Academy in 1804, Philippe Runge married an 18-year-old beautiful girl Pauline Susanne Basseng. Their marriage was happy, but very short-lived; three children were born in it. The couple moved to Hamburg, where Daniel Runge lived at that time, and it was here that the professional career of the young artist began to develop rapidly.

Philipp Otto Runge The Small Morning.
The Small Morning.

Runge’s innovative paintings were warmly received by critics and the public. Soon he gained fame in the city as a brilliant portrait painter and acquired wealthy customers. Philip also often painted landscapes and works of the historical genre, and in the evenings he developed his own theory of the three-dimensional color system in the field of visual arts. Unfortunately, he never had time to complete work on this large-scale project. Runge’s manuscripts were published after his death, and experts appreciated them only in the middle of the 19th century.

The successful career of a brilliant artist was mercilessly destroyed by a fatal disease. Despite the efforts of the best German doctors, Philip Otto Runge died on December 2, 1810 from pulmonary tuberculosis in Hamburg at the age of 33. The fourth child of the young painter was born the day after the death of his father and was named Philip in his honor.

Philipp Otto Runge Times Of day Evening.
Times Of day Evening.

The most famous paintings by Philipp Otto Runge

An outstanding master of romanticism, during his short professional career, he managed to create dozens of wonderful works. And yet, the most famous paintings by Philip Otto Runge are:

  • We Three (1805) is a work in which the artist depicted himself with his wife and brother Daniel against the background of nature. The original painting was destroyed in a fire in 1831, and its exact copy was made by Julius von Ehren in the 1930s from a miraculously preserved drawing by the author.
  • “Children of Hulsenbeck” (1805-1806) is a work in which the painter captured three children engaged in exciting games in nature. The two older children are carrying a two-year-old toddler in a wooden cart, and behind them, a charming countryside landscape opens up in front of the audience.
  • “Peter at Sea” (1806-1807) is a painting of a religious genre, executed in gloomy dark colors. On it, Christ, calmly stands on the surface of the raging Sea of ​​Galilee and saves the drowning Peter, while the rest of the disciples are watching the action from a fishing boat.
  • Morning (1808) is the most striking work of the romantic style in the artist’s work. The beauty of the ideal landscape is complemented by the allegorical figures of a young nude woman and angels.
Philipp Otto Runge The three of us.
The three of us.

Philip Otto Runge lived a very short life, but left to descendants a rich artistic heritage. Together with Kaspar David Friedrich, he is rightfully considered the founder of German romantic painting and will forever remain in our memory a great genius of fine art.

Philipp Otto Runge The artist's wife with child, 1807, Alte Gallery, Berlin.
The artist’s wife with child, 1807, Alte Gallery, Berlin.
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