Painter, landscape painter, draughtsman, etcher, commercial artist, lithographer and writer
Joseph Anton Koch was born in Obergiblen, in the Lechtal in Tyrol, Austria, in 1768. He studied for two years at the Catholic seminary in Dillingen and with the court sculptor in Augsburg before moving to Stuttgart in 1785 to accept an opening at the Hohe Karlsschule, a strict military academy. There he became infused with the ideas of the French Revolution and began drawing caricatures. Fearing punishment, he left the school in 1791. He first went to Strasbourg and from there to Basel, where he drew additional political caricatures until 1793. In 1794 he was awarded a stipend for a three-year sojourn in Italy. He first headed for Naples and then settled in Rome, where he came into contact with other German painters, among them the Nazarenes. He produced numerous etchings, drawings and oil paintings. With only a few exceptions Koch spent the rest of his life in Rome. He attracted a circle of young German artists who imitated his painterly realism. He died in Rome in 1839.