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Carl Wagner

1796 Rossdorf/Rhön – 1867 Meiningen

The painter and landscape etcher Carl Wagner was born in 1796 in the small village of Rossdorf on the Rhön in Thuringia. He received his first education in the fine arts in Meiningen, where his father worked as a secretary to the ducal court and was known as an amateur poet. The foremost German romantic writer Ludwig Tieck was among the guests of this artistic household. In 1817 Wagner went to Dresden where he was to study at the academy until 1820 and where he joined the circle of Johann Christian Clausen Dahl, Carl Gustav Carus, Ernst Ferdinand Oehme, and Ludwig Richter. A stay in Italy between 1822 and 1825 reinforced Wagner’s desire to become a landscape painter. Interestingly enough, Italy did not seem to have a determining influence on Wagner’s further artistic ­development, as the artist’s early biographer, Andreas ­Andresen, first noted. Rather the painter seems to have been inspired by the sublime, deserted landscapes of the Swiss and Tyrolean alps, which he depicted in numerous studies after ­nature. The extensive forests of his central German, Thuringian homeland also served as a rich source of artistic inspiration.