Bellerophon on the back of Pegasus after Buenaventura Genelli


Wood engraving by Hugo. Bürkner and A. Kretzschmar after an original by Buenaventura Genelli. The picture shows the Greek hero Bellerophon on the back of Pegasus in an otherwise 19th century setting. The image is 52 x 38 cm (including portrait of Bellerophon). The print comes in a passe partout, the total dimensions are 61.5 x 44.5 cm. The print has a crack on the left and right and the paper has some foxing.

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Giovanni Buonaventura Genelli (28 September 1798 – 13 November 1868) was a German painter. Genelli was born at Berlin in 1798, the son of Janus Genelli, a painter whose landscapes are still preserved in the Schloss at Berlin; and grandson of Joseph Genelli, a Roman embroiderer employed to found a school of tapestries by Frederick the Great. Three uncles were architect, painter, printmaker and porcelain designer between them, and Bonaventura’s son Camillo (1840–1867) was a painter. Bonaventura is mainly remembered for his Neoclassical drawings and prints in an outline style somewhat like that of John Flaxman. Buonaventura Genelli first took lessons from his father and then became a student of the Prussian Academy of the Arts. After serving his time in the guards he went with a stipend to Rome, where he lived ten years, as friend and assistant to Joseph Anton Koch the landscape painter, a colleague of the sculptor Ernst Hähnel (1811–1891), Reinhart, Overbeck and Führich, all of whom made a name in art. In 1830 he was commissioned by Dr. Härtel to adorn a villa at Leipzig with frescoes, but quarrelling with this patron he withdrew to Munich, where he earned a scanty livelihood at first, though he succeeded at last in acquiring repute as an illustrative and figure draughtsman. In 1859 he was appointed a professor at Weimar, where he died in 1868. Genelli painted few pictures, and it is very rare to find his canvases in public galleries, but there in 1911 there were six of his compositions in oil in the Schack collection at Munich. These and numerous water-colors, as well as designs for engravings and lithographs, reveal an artist of considerable power – whose ideal was the antique, but who was also fascinated by the works of Michelangelo. Though a German by birth, his spirit was unlike that of Overbeck or Führich, whose art was reminiscent of the old masters of their own country. He seemed to hark back to the land of his fathers and endeavour to revive the traditions of the Italian Renaissance. Subtle in thought and powerfully conceived, his compositions are usually mythological, but full of matter, energetic and fiery in execution, and marked almost invariably by daring effects of foreshortening. Impeded by straitened means, the artist seems frequently to have drawn from imagination rather than from life, and much of his anatomy of muscle is in consequence conventional and false. But nonetheless Genelli merits his reputation as a bold and imaginative artist, and his name deserves to be remembered beyond the narrow limits of the early schools of Munich and Weimar.


Carl Wilhelm Hübner (born June 17, 1814 Königsberg, † December 5, 1879 in Düsseldorf) was a German genre and landscape painter of romance and realism. Hübner received his first artistic education from professor Johann Eduard Wolff in his place of birth. Through his promotion, Hübner was admitted to the Düsseldorf art academy in 1837 at the age of 23. He remained there until 1841, where he was a pupil of Wilhelm von Schadow and the son of Carl Ferdinand. Hübner is considered a representative of the Düsseldorf School of Painting. From 1841 he ran his own studio. The main works of Hübner are oil paintings with scenes from daily life, especially scenes of human and social conflicts. His focus was often “the other side” of society, such as the lives of thieves, smugglers or poachers. A well-known work is the painting De Schlesischen Weber, in which he was impressed by the socio-economic situation of the weavers, trying to portray the human side of their existence. The painting was shown in 1844 with a large audience in Cologne, Berlin, Halberstadt and other German places. It is related in style and explanation to Wilhelm Kleinenbroich’s painting that Mahl- und Schlachtsteuer. Because of the socially critical side of the Schlesischen Weber, part of the art criticism accused him of cheap populism. In 1847 Hübner undertook an extensive study trip through the United States. His sketches, which were made, formed the basis of many of his paintings after his return. On August 6, 1848 Hübner was one of the founders of the support fund, Kunstler Malkasten and was also the chairman for some time. He was also a member of the board of Düsseldorf artists for mutual support and assistance. Carl Hübner paid tribute to the spirit of the times through his immense creativity, but his paintings lacked the “academic feeling” in the eyes of his contemporaries. He was accused of “realism” in the sense that he usually renounced sentimentalism and idealization of the events depicted in his paintings. Precisely for this reason, Hübner was seen as a “German Courbet” by the subsequent criticism, in particular in the artistic-scientific appreciation of the 1970s.

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Adolph Moritz Kretzschmar, was born on June 25, 1828 in Dresden. He was a wood engraver who had received his training initially from E. Kretzschmar and later from Hugo Bürkner. He died on November 1, 1866 in Dresden.


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