Art-technological Examinations Related to Philipp Otto Runge

Although Runge, next to Caspar David Friedrich, counts as the other key figure of the pictorial art of German Romanticism, his oeuvre was far less recognized than that of his prominent contemporary. Considering that these past years Romantic art has continually gained in esteem, also on the international level, there was a gap to be closed by bringing Runge and his outstanding role in the artistic evolution around 1800 into the general public focus. 36 of Philipp Otto Runge’s paintings have been preserved, with 30 of them belonging to the holdings of the Hamburger Kunsthalle.

In preparation of the retrospective »Runge’s Cosmos. The Morning of the Romanitic Era«, extensive art-technological examinations were performed on the Hamburg paintings in collaboration with natural scientists and art historians. The project was aimed at systematically assessing and comparing the paintings with respect to their technical structure. Particular attention was given to the working processes, especially the underdrawings in direct comparison with the preliminary drawings, a large number of which exists in the Kupferstichkabinett of the Hamburger Kunsthalle. Also in the focus were changes in colour, as displayed in »The Hülsenbeck Children«. The Philipp Otto Runge Foundation enabled this art-technological research.