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Albert Christoph Dies

1755 Hannover – 1822 Vienna

After years of study in Düsseldorf, Mannheim and Basle, Albert Christoph Dies arrived in Rome in the summer of 1775, where he was to live and work until 1796. Dies, who had landed in Rome with a modest stipend of thirty ducats but without any knowledge of Italian, faced an uphill task at the outset. His initial efforts were in the field of landscape painting, although he had hardly any experience in the genre. During the first years of his stay in Rome he earned his living by assisting Giovanni Volpato with the colouring of line engravings, while at the same time working intensively from nature, which he studied on his walks through the Roman Campagna. Not only was Dies a recognized artist in his lifetime, but he also possessed considerable musical talents. In Vienna, where he had settled in 1797, he enjoyed the patronage of Prince Esterhazy. Here, too, he made the acquaintance of Joseph Haydn, and after the latter’s death he wrote one of the first biographies of the composer, which was published in 1810.