There is no land in sight - nothing but the sky. Dark clouds hinting at rain loom up towards the viewer; the reddish clouds of evening lie behind. The 'Cloud Study' which Carl Philipp Fohr recorded on a small sketchbook sheet dates from the autumn of 1815, when he was studying at the Munich Academy and taking advantage of the holidays to hike across the Alps to Venice. Although he had previously written about the academic training with a lack of excitement, he now gave an enthusiastic account of his impressions of the journey, which spurred on his artistic development.
Johann David Passavant's (1787-1861) biography was an unusual one. Originally trained as a merchant in Frankfurt, he developed from 1817 on into a Nazarene painter and eventually became a co-founder of a science-oriented art history. His work on 'Rafael von Urbino und sein Vater Giovanni Santi', published in 1839, is regarded as a cornerstone of art research. The author dedicated the book to the "venerable administration" of the Städel, which had supported the research undertaking and the printing. Passavant had long cultivated close links with the Städelsches Kunstinstitut and had advised it on its art purchases since 1817. He eventually became its gallery inspector in 1840. The artist and art scholar also established his own small private collection. During his lifetime he bequeathed individual artworks to the Städel, and further objects followed in his will in 1861.