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Home / Great Artists / H / Jacob Philippe Hackert / Biography
Biography Jacob Philippe Hackert

Jacob Philippe Hackert Biography


German Romantic Painter

Philipp Hackert was German by birth but spent most of his life in Italy where he established his reputation primarily as a landscapist. His views immortalizing the beauty spots of Italy appealed particularly to foreign visitors who acquired them as souvenirs of their travels abroad. Born in Prenzlau in 1737, he first worked with his father Philipp Hackert (d.1768) a portraitist. He then studied at the Berlin Academy and in 1761, two works were purchased for King Frederick IPs Collection.
Hackert visited Pomerania and Sweden and then spent three years in Paris from 1765-1768 where he was considerably influenced by the French landscapist Claude-Joseph Vernet (1714-1789). In 1768, he left for Italy where he was to spend the rest of his life. He first settled in Rome and later visited Tivoli in 1769 and Naples in 1770.
Hackert's stay in Naples proved to be the most successful period during his career. With a letter of introduction to Sir William Hamilton, the English Ambassador, he found his first distinguished patron, and shortly after was patronised by Catherine the Great. His work soon came to the attention of King Ferdinand IV from whom he received numerous commissions and was appointed Court Painter in 1786. Among his most important works are a series of paintings depicting the Ports of the Kingdom which include views of Naples and Campania, 1787, Apulia, 1788, and Sicily and Calabria, 1790. To some extent, Hackert was influenced by Vernet's series depicting the Ports of France, in this series which provides the first pictorial record of these Southern Italian ports.
Due to political uprisings in 1799, the Court at Naples moved to Sicily and by 1800, Hackert had settled just outside Florence at San Piero di Careggio where he died in 1807. The acclaimed critic Goethe, whom he had met at the Neapolitan court in 1787, published his biography posthumously in 1811, in accordance with the artist's wishes.
The work of Hackert is represented in several museums including the Museo Capidomonte, Naples, the Galleria Nazionale, Rome, the National Gallery, Berlin and the Museum of Montpellier, France.