Painter, landscape painter, history painter, draughtsman and gallery director
Carl Friedrich Lessing was born in Breslau in 1808. He studied architecture at the Berlin Bauakademie in 1822, and then at Berlin’s Königlich-Preussische Akademie der Wissenschaften, the Royal Prussian Academy of the Sciences, from 1823 to 1826. He had his first success with a painting at the Berlin Art Exhibition in 1826 and was accepted into the atelier of Friedrich Wilhelm von Schadow. Lessing followed his teacher Schadow to Düsseldorf and its art academy, where he remained until 1843. Schadow also introduced him to the genre of history painting. By 1830, with his paintings combining history and landscape painting, Lessing was already considered one of the finest artists of the Düsseldorf School. In 1848 he was a co-founder of the artists’ association Malkasten (Paint Box). From 1858 to 1880 Lessing served as the director of the Großherzogliche Gemäldegalerie and Kupferstichkabinett, the Grand Ducal Painting Gallery and Print Collection in Karlsruhe. He died there in 1880.