The New International Encyclopædia/Müller, Friedrich (poet)

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MÜLLER, Friedrich (called Maler Müller) (1749-1825). A German poet, painter, and engraver, born at Kreuznach. He showed in his youth a talent for art, and began to study painting at Zweibrücken, where his fascinating personality and varied endowments won him the favor of the Court circles. In 1774 he went to Mannheim, and soon acquired a reputation as a poet. His idyls were inspired, first by Gessner, afterwards by Voss, some of them being realistic descriptions of the life of the common people in the Palatinate. He is best known as a dramatist, and as such a true representative of the ‘Storm and Stress’ period, whose unbalanced enthusiasm is most apparent in Golo und Genoveva. To the theme attempted in Fausts Leben dramatisirt his powers were hardly adequate. In 1777 he had become electoral Court painter, and in 1778 means were provided to satisfy the artist's longing for Rome. Although he continued there his literary efforts for a time, he more especially cultivated painting, setting up Michelangelo as his idol, but falling into exaggerations and never attaining any real success. Gradually estranged from his art through failures and distress, he devoted himself to art-historical studies, became a sort of ambulant antiquary, and was much sought as a cicerone. Through the patronage of the Crown Prince of Bavaria (afterwards King Louis I.) he was enabled to pass his declining years in comparative ease. Consult Seuffert, Der Maler Müller (Berlin, 1877).