The New International Encyclopædia/Koch, Joseph Anton

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KOCH, Joseph Anton (1768-1839). A distinguished Austrian landscape painter and etcher, born at Obergiebeln, Tyrol. He was a poor shepherd boy, but through a bishop's patronage was sent to the Karlsschule in Stuttgart in 1785. The severe discipline of that institution became intolerable to him, and he ran away in 1791, lived in Strassburg and Switzerland, and in 1795 made his way to Rome, where he became a follower of Carstens (q.v.). at the same time modelling his style in landscape after Poussin and Claude Lorraine. Among his earlier works were etchings for Carstens's Les Argonautes, selon Pindare, Orphée et Apollonius de Rhode (1799), a series of twenty Italian landscapes, thirty-six illustrations to Ossian, and fourteen to Dante, a large drawing of “The French Taking the Oath at Millesimo;” also American landscape views for portions of Humboldt's works (1805). During the years 1812-15 he was in Vienna, and some of his best oil paintings date from this period. Afterwards he went to Rome and became a conspicuous figure in the German artists' colony there. He was the first to paint ‘heroic’ or ‘historical’ landscape, and his influence upon his associates was very great, of his paintings in the public galleries there are: “Schmadribach Falls in the Lauterbach Valley” (1811), “View Near Subiaco,” “Noah's Sacrifice” (1813), “Grimsel Pass” (1813), and “View of Nauplia” (1830), all in the museum at Leipzig; “View in the Sabine Mountains” (1813), and “Monastery of San Francesco di Civitella” (1814), in the National Gallery at Berlin; replicas of “Schmadribach Falls” and of “Noah's Sacrifice” in the New Pinakothek at Munich; and “Macbeth and the Witches,” in the museum at Innsbruck. In the Dante room of the Villa Massimi, in Rome, lie painted four frescoes (1824-29). His Moderne Kunstchronik oder die rumfordische Suppe, gekocht und geschrieben von J. A. Koch (1834) is an attack upon unfair art criticism, and at the same time serves to reflect his rather rough humor, aggressive temperament, and quaint personality. Consult: Strauss, Kleine Schriften (Bonn, 1877); and Frimmel, in Dohme, Kunst und Künstler des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts (Leipzig, 1884).