Fricdrkh, a German painter, born in Lübeck, July 3, 1789, died in Rome, Nov. 12, 18G9. He commenced his artistic education in Vienna in 1800, and in 1810 repaired to Rome, where he became convinced that a return to the truth and simplicity of the early Italian masters was necessary. A Madonna painted in 1811 first brought him into notice in Rome, and was followed by the frescoes of "Joseph sold into Captivity by his Brethren" and the "Seven Years of Famine," in the villa of the Prussian consul Bartholdy. He gradually restricted himself to works of an exclusively devotional character, which he strove to imbue with religio-mystic feeling. In 1814, in company with several of his associates, he abjured Lutheranism and embraced the Roman Catholic faith. His life was afterward passed almost entirely in Rome. At first he was surrounded by a band of enthusiastic disciples, but by degrees his followers became fewer. He however continued to labor in his chosen style with unabated zeal until his death. Of Overbeck's works in fresco, the most remarkable are a series of five representing subjects from Tasso's Gerusalemme liberata, executed in 1817 in the villa Massimi in Rome, and the " Vision of St. Francis" painted for the church of the Madonna degli Angioli near Assisi, the latter of which is considered a remarkable exposition of the principles of Christian art as understood by him.
The picture which first gave him a European reputation was the "Entry of Christ into Jerusalem," completed in 1824 for the Marien-kirche in Lubeck, and which is well known by engravings. Other works by him of a Scriptural character are "Christ bearing the Cross," " The Child Christ in the Temple," " Christ blessing Little Children" (also well known through engravings), "The Raising of Lazarus," " Christ raising the Daughter of Jairns," " Christ on the Mount of Olives," " St. John preaching in the Wilderness," "Moses and the Daughter of Jethro at the Well," " Gathering the Manna," " Hagar in the Desert," and "The Ascent of Elijah." His numerous "Holy Families" and Pietas, "Marriage of the Virgin," "Virgin with the Lily," "Three Kings," "St. Elizabeth," "Assumption of the Virgin," etc, are examples of his manner of illustrating the traditions of the church. His masterpiece perhaps is the elaborate composition in the Stadel'sche institute at Frankfort, representing tlic triumph of Christianity in the arts. As a designer in charcoal and chalk, Overbeck is perhaps more generally known than by his paintings; and engravings have been made from his "Passion of our Lord," "Forty Illustrations from the Gospels," and similar series of drawings.
He also designed a remarkable series of cartoons to be executed in fresco in the chapel of the banker Torlonia's villa at Castel Gan-dolfo. Occasionally he attempted allegorical figures, such as his "Germania" and "Italia." Among his latest works were the cartoons for mural paintings for a large Catholic church in Jakova, Albania, and seven pictures representing the seven sacraments.
Johannes Adolf, a German archaeologist, nephew of the preceding, born in Antwerp, March 27, 1820. He graduated at Bonn in 1850, and became professor in the university of Leipsic in 1853, and founded its archaeological museum. His principal works are: Geschichtedergriechischen Plastik(2 vols., 1857-'8; 2d ed., 1869-'70); Pompeji in seinen Gebäuden, Alterthümem und Kunstwerken (185G; 2d ed., 2 vols., 1866); and GriecMsche Kunstmythologie (3 vols, and atlas, 1871-'3).