Fred R. Kline Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
GOTTLIEB SCHICK (Germany, 1776-1812)
Gottlieb Schick's poetic synthesis of Neo-classical form and Romantic content place him, with Joseph Anton Koch (his fellow expatriate in Rome), among the important few painters of the German Neo-classic movement. He began his art studies in his native Stuttgart (1795-7) under the classically-oriented painter Friedrich von Hetsch, who had been a pupil of Jacques-Louis David.
From 1799 to 1802, Schick trained in Paris under David and quickly became one of the master's favorite students. During his Paris period, Schick began to develop a more romantic personal style, closer to Poussin, turning away from David's moralistic and political themes. In 1802, assisted by a pension from Frederick II, Duke of Wurttemburg, Schick moved to Rome where he achieved notable success during the last ten years of his life. He is often considered, along with his friend Koch, an important member of the Nazarene Circle of German and Austrian artists working in Rome during the first decades of the 19th century.
Allegory of the Divine Beauty of Nature, circa 1809, Rome
Oil on canvas
50 x 67 inches (128 x 170 cm.)
Not signed or inscribed
Authentication & Consulting Scholars
Attribution and initial research: Fred R. Kline
Authentication: Dr. Ingrid Sattel Bernardini
Consulting Scholars: Robert Rosenblum, Colin J. Bailey
Commissioned from Schick in 1809 by Joachim Murat (then Joachim I Napoleon, King of Naples ,1808-1815
Unknown owners until 1998
Art Market, Dallas, 1998
Fred R. Kline Gallery, Santa Fe, 1998 (here first researched and attributed to Schick by Fred R. Kline)
Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, 2000
Fred R. Kline Gallery . "Gottlieb Schick: Allegory of the Divine Beauty of Nature, Rome 1809". November-December 1999.
"Gottlieb Schick: Allegory of the Divine Beauty of Nature, Rome 1809": www.klinegallery.com from November 1999
According to Dr. Ingrid Sattel Bernardini, in her opinion which agrees with Fred R. Kline's attribution and assigns authorship to Schick, the recently discovered Allegory of the Divine Beauty of Nature may be the lost and undescribed second commission ordered from Schick by Joachim Murat, Napoleon's brother-in-law and one of his most famous marshals, who was then Joachim I Napoleon, King of Naples). When Napoleon resumed his wars, Murat joined him again and was shot in 1815 by an Austria firing squad.
As Schick's likely invention, the subject--a tree nymph appealing to an astonished woodcutter for the conjoined life of the tree and her own life--suggests, according to Kline, a further development of the artist's "divine origin" theme, plausibly representing here an allegory of "the divine origin of the beauty of nature and its first manifestation to a human being" (using Schick's descriptive phrasing for Apollo Among the Shepherds, a thematically related picture).
According to Kline, this work is very likely the third and final painting in an allegorical series of "divine origin" pictures by Schick. The first of the series, Eve (1800, Paris; Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne), can be seen as a Biblical allegory of the divine origin of the senses (touch), depicting the newly-born Eve's delicate first step into the cool waters of Eden. The second and key work of the series, Apollo Among the Shepherds (1806-8, Rome; Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart), Schick himself described, according to Ernst Platner (his first biographer), as "a symbol of the divine origin of poetry and its first manifestation to human beings".
With the discovery of Allegory of the Divine Beauty of Naturea major addition to the artist's body of work which numbers under forty paintingsSchick further develops his romantic vision of the genesis of human feeling.
Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College
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