The New International Encyclopædia/Lessing, Karl Friedrich

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LESSING, Karl Friedrich (1808-80). A German historical and landscape painter, grandnephew of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing. He was born near Breslau, February 15, 1808, and was a pupil of the Berlin Academy. He first devoted himself to landscape, and in 1826 obtained a prize with his “Cemetery in Ruins.” He accompanied his master, Schadow, to Düsseldorf, where he continued his studies, devoting himself to historical paintings. In 1830, when Schadow went to Italy, Lessing occupied his place as director of the Academy, exercising great influence upon the Düsseldorf school. His picture “Das trauernde Königspaar” (“Mourning Royal Couple”) brought him great popularity. In 1837 lie received a gold medal at Paris; he was a member of the Berlin Academy, and was the recipient of several orders. In 1858 he was appointed director of the gallery at Karlsruhe, where he continued his activity as a painter until his death, January 4, 1880. His historical paintings were mostly executed in the service of Protestantism. The best known are: “Hussite Sermon” (1830), and the “Martyrdom of Huss” (1850), in the National Gallery at Berlin; “Huss Before the Council of Constance” (1842), in the Museum of Frankfort; “Dispute Between Luther and Dr. Eek,” in the Gallery of Karlsruhe; “Luther Burning the Pope's Bull” (1853); “Pope Paschal II., a Prisoner of Henry V.” (1857), in the possession of the German Emperor. As a landscape painter Lessing occupies an important place, being the chief master of the Romantic School in Germany. His landscapes were chiefly mountain scenery, painted directly from nature, only the figures being reminiscent of Romanticism. Consult M. Jordan, Ausstellung der Werke Karl Friedrich Lessings (Berlin, 1880).