AN EXTENSIVE LANDSCAPE VIEW WITH A SEATED FIGURE IN THE FOREGROUND & A DISTANT COASTLINE
Pen & ink
15 x 21 cm
Franz Kobell was born into a family of artists, which included his nephew Wilhelm, Court-Painter to Carl-Theodor, Prince Elector of Pfalz & Bayern, and his brother Ferdinand, also a Court-Painter and a Professor of the Academy at Heidelberg.
At first Franz was apprenticed to a merchant in Mainz, before he returned to his hometown of Mannheim. Franz dabbled in painting during this time and soon earned the esteem of the Elector, as his brother had, and was duly sent to Rome and given the financial support of the Elector to study the works of the Masters there in c.1778. In Rome he fell under the spell of Claude, Poussin and Gaspard Dughet, and drew the architecture and heroic landscapes that they had popularised a century before. He remained in Rome for six years and afterwards returned to Munich to take up a position as Court-Painter in that city.
His painted works are very scarce, with only about a dozen known, though Goethe praised those he had seen. Franz was however a prolific draughtsman in pen, ink and wash, somtimes combined with red chalks. Among his patrons and admirers he counted not only Goethe but Georg von Dillis, Carl Friedrich von Rumohr and the aforementioned Prince Elector of Bavaria. Today his drawings can be found in numerous public collections throughout Europe, with around 170 drawings also held in the British Museum in London.