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Jörg Traeger

(b Wolgast, July 23, 1777; d Hamburg, Dec 2, 1810).

German painter, draughtsman and theorist. He stands alongside Caspar David Friedrich as a leading figure in German Romantic painting even though his early death restricted his oeuvre to relatively few stages of development. The enduring prominence of philosophical and theoretical concerns suggests that further work would have contributed to the history of ideas as well as to that of art. Runge’s greatest influence was on later, largely 20th-century artists and thinkers rather than on his immediate contemporaries. While 19th-century developments certainly bore out Runge’s claim for a new, symbolic role for landscape, it was only in the later 19th century and in the 20th century that serious consideration was given to his colour theory and to his concept of the total work of art appealing to several senses (subsequently termed Gesamtkunstwerk).

He received no formal artistic training in his childhood; but a very strict Protestant upbringing and regular readings of biblical and Lutheran texts were fundamental in conditioning his subsequent aesthetic and philosophical outlook. He was also influenced at an early age by the poet and theologian Gotthard Ludwig Kosegarten who taught in Wolgast from ...