Painter, draughtsman, copperplate engraver, commercial artist, fresco painter and muralist
Johann Friedrich Overbeck was born in 1789 in Lübeck, where he began his artistic training under Joseph Nicolas Peroux in 1805. In Hamburg in 1806 he was greatly encouraged by Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Tischbein and Philipp Otto Runge. In that same year Overbeck went to Vienna, where he continued his study at the city’s noted art school, the Akademie der Künste. Together with Franz Pforr and other artist friends, he founded the artists’ association the Lukasbruderschaft (Brotherhood of St Luke), dedicated to creating a revival of religious art. In 1810 Overbeck and his St Luke brothers moved to Rome, where he became one of the central figures in the Nazarene group. In 1813 he converted to Catholicism. Overbeck devoted himself increasingly to fresco painting, and along with his artist colleagues received commissions from around the world. He declined numerous invitations to take up a professorship in Germany. In 1831 he visited his homeland for the last time. Overbeck died in Rome in 1869.