JOHAN (JEAN) DAVID PASSAVANT
Self-Portrait with Beret before a Roman Landscape
Oil on canvas
Inv. No. 1585
45 × 32 cm
This self-portrait is an aesthetic creed: Passavant depicts himself in German Renaissance garb before an Italian landscape, with a Medieval church in the background. He wished to emulate the Christian masters of the Renaissance in his life as well as his painting. Already during his ten years in Rome, beginning in 1817, he turned to the study of sources and the analysis of artworks. Especially captivated by Raphael’s work, he finally gave up painting and devoted himself to art-historical scholarship. Beginning in 1840, he was the director of the Städelsches Kunstinstitut (Städel Art Institute) and oversaw the acquisition of high-quality works of Italian and Netherlandish art.