Christoph Heinrich KNIEP
(Hildesheim 1755 - Naples 1825)
Study of the Base of a Tree and Undergrowth
Signed C. H. Kniep at the lower left of the mount, and inscribed and dated Napoli 1816 at the lower right of the mount.
200 x 296 mm. (7 7/8 x 11 5/8 in.)
Despite his long career in Italy and his role as a member of the artistic community in 18th century Rome, Kniep enjoyed only a modest reputation in his own lifetime. As has been noted of the artist, ‘Neither self-obsessed or perhaps talented enough to do more than eke out a living from the commissions of wealthy visitors to Rome, he somehow failed to make his mark, rather like Jacob Asmus Carstens, John Robert Cozens and other foreign draughtsmen who made their way to Italy in this period. His response to the artistic demands and political changes of the time was to escape into idyll and a fastidious adherence to traditional values and techniques.’
Although Kniep’s drawings of ideal classical landscapes have been largely forgotten since his death, the recent publication of both a monograph on the artist and a museum exhibition of his work have done much to bring his oeuvre back to light. Large groups of landscape drawings by Kniep are today in the collections of the Niedersächsisches Landesmuseum in Hannover, the Roemer- und Pelizaeus-Museum in Hildesheim and the Goethe-Nationalmuseum in Weimar, while other examples are in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Kupferstichkabinett in Berlin, the Goethe-Museum in Düsseldorf, the Städelsches Kunstinstitut in Frankfurt, the Hamburger Kunsthalle in Hamburg, the Museo Nazionale di San Martino in Naples, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, the Albertina in Vienna, and elsewhere.