Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Eduard von Steinle

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An historical painter, born at Vienna, 2 July, 1810; died at Frankfort, 19 Sept., 1886. Steinle came successively under the influence of the painters Kupelweiser, Overbeck, and Cornelius, and was thus introduced into the new and vigorous methods of the German painters who had formed themselves into a school at Rome. Steinle went himself several times to Rome, but preferred to work in Germany. He received his first large commission, the painting of the chapel of the Castle of Rheineck, while living at Frankfort-on-the-Main; a second one was for work in the Hall of the Emperors (Kaisersaal) at Frankfort, where he painted the pictures of Albert I and Ferdinand III. These commissions and his friendship with Philip Veit and the Brentano family decided him to take up his permanent residence at Frankfort. From 1850 he was professor of historical painting at the Städel Art Institute of Frankfort. Like his friend Schwind he was one of the last of the great painters of the Romantic School and one of those of this school who were largest in their scope. Like Schwind also he was probably more a master in the art of painting ordinary subjects. Still Constant von Wurzbach was able to write an appreciation of Steinle with the title "Ein Madonnamaler unserer Zeit" (Vienna, 1879), for Steinle left more than a hundred religious panel pictures, besides numerous cartoons for church windows. He was also regarded as the great master of monumental fresco painting in the districts of the Rhine.

Besides his work at Rheineck he painted cycles of pictures in the Castle of Klein-Heubach, in the Church of St. Ægidius at Münster, and in the Church of Our Lady at Aachen. He also painted the groups of angels in the choir of the cathedral at Cologne, and did part of the work in the apse of the choir of the Minster at Strasburg and in the imperial cathedral at Frankfort. Nevertheless, however striking these frescoes may be, too much stress is laid on detail, and the large, monumental character essential to such painting is not sufficiently apparent. This lack is still more evident in the frescoes showing the historical development of civilization on the stairway of the Wallraf-Richartz Museum at Cologne. Among Steinle's smaller religious pictures are some very fine ones, as that of the enthroned "Madonna holding the Child" while an angel plays a musical instrument in front of them, the "Visitation", the "Holy Family at the Spring", "Mary Magdalen seeking Christ", "Christ Walking with His Disciples", the "Legend of St. Euphrosyne", and the "Great Penitentiary". Steinle was not so willing to condescend to extremes in pleasing popular taste as Schwind, although he had a keen eye for ordinary life and a sense of humour. He placed the idea presented by the picture prominently in the foreground, so that at times the method of portrayal seems too artificial. Among his noblest and most universally admired paintings that are not directly religious are: the "Warder of the Tower", the "Fiddler", the "Sibyl", the "Lorelei", and the pictures of the story of Parsifal; no less remarkable are his illustrations of Shakespeare, and especially those to accompany Brentano's writings. Steinle's works show both graceful and well-defined composition, poetic conception, healthy religious feeling, and, of not less importance, pleasing colour.

ALPH. VON STEINLE published his father's correspondence (Freiburg, 1897), also his father's collected works (Kempten, 1910); VEIT, Eduard von Steinle (Leipzig, 1887); POPP, Eduard von Steinle (Mainz, 1906).

G. GIETMANN.