History painter, painter, art historian, art writer, museum director and college professor
Johann David Passavant was born in Frankfurt am Main in 1787. He first apprenticed as a merchant before beginning training as an artist in Paris under Jacques-Louis David and Antoine-Jean Gros. From 1817 to 1824 Passavant lived in Rome, where he came into contact with the Lukasbruderschaft (Brotherhood of St Luke) and also began to write. He undertook numerous travels, to England and to the rest of Italy. In 1840 he became the superintendent of the Städelsches Kunstinstitut. He published his reflections on art theory and made important purchases. Passavant’s switch from making art to theorising about it and becoming engaged in museum work was not unusual at the time. Passavant died in Frankfurt am Main in 1861.