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Franz Stuck (Feb. 23, 1863 – Aug. 30, 1928); German painter, sculptor, engraver, and architect. In 1906, Stuck was awarded the Verdienstorden der Bayerischen Krone and was henceforth known as Franz Ritter von Stuck.
Franz Stuck’s life is a story of rags to riches. A miller’s son, he advanced to be one of the most highly respected artists of his day. His princely lifestyle contrasted starkly with his modest beginnings, earning him the title Malerfürst.
As a child, Stuck showed precocious skill as a draftsman. Unusually for a boy of his social rank, his talents were nurtured from an early age and he was sent to train at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Munich. After completing his training he enrolled at the Munich Academy. As a student he produced humorous drawings for illustrated magazines and sketches for a portfolio titled Allegorien und Embleme. These works demonstrate a growing sensibility for ornamental effect and a penchant for highly imaginative mythological imagery, both of which were to form the bedrock of his artistic practice and bring him widespread recognition.
His breakthrough came in 1889 when he was awarded a gold medal for a painting titled Der Wächter des Paradieses at the annual exhibition staged at the Munich Glaspalast. The painting, an idealized life-sized self portrait, is now in the collection of the Museum Villa Stuck in Munich....
Stuck’s importance lies in his unrivaled ability – as a draftsman, painter and sculptor – to use his unerring decorative sensibility to break down the boundaries between fine and applied art. Echoing Arnold Böcklin and Max Klinger, his Symbolist imagery is filled with yearning for a world enraptured by beauty, between heroism and hedonism. Paintings like Die Sünde, Der Krieg and Der Kuss der Sphinx and sculptures such as Verwundeter Kentaur and Reitende Amazone are icons of early 20th-century art – works whose aesthetic appeal and pulling power are...