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Dynasty of German painters. The best-known member of the family, Wilhelm Tischbein (1751–1829), spent much of his career in Italy, where he became a friend of Goethe, and he is now remembered almost solely for his famous portrait Goethe in the Roman Campagna (1786–7, Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt). Letters exchanged between artist and sitter show that the picture was conceived as a meditation on the fleeting nature of human accomplishments (symbolized by fragments of ancient sculpture). Wilhelm is often called ‘Goethe’ Tischbein, and the two other leading members of the family, his uncle and cousin, were nicknamed after their main place of work: Johann Heinrich the Elder, ‘Kassel’ Tischbein (1722–89), and Johann Friedrich, ‘Leipzig’ Tischbein (1750–1812).

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)

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