Carl August Senff (1770–1838) im Kontext der Deutschen Kunst und sein Wirken in Tartu (Dorpat)


  • Gerd-Helge Vogel



Academic neoclassicism, the age of sentimentalism, university drawing master, idyll, Carl August Senff


Carl August Senff is among the most important artists of Academic
Neoclassicism in the Baltic region. As drawing master at the University of Tartu, he conveyed the artistic experience he had acquired, primarily during his years in Saxony in Leipzig and Dresden, to a significant number of students. In this way, Senff established the basis for the independent development of the arts in Estonia.

This essay examines Senff’s early artistic roots in Germany and draws attention to the close, personal relations with his artist friends who served as a fundamental source, guiding light, and creative impulse for his own drawing and painting throughout his life. Senff’s stylistic development began with a sentimental neoclassicism that gradually transformed into Biedermeier realism. Portraits and landscapes in various techniques were Senff’s preferred genres, especially as graphic prints. Senff’s mastery of the new technique of lithography became an
important model for his many students.


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Author Biography

Gerd-Helge Vogel

Gerd-Helge Vogel (b. 1951), Assistant Professor (lecturer) Emeritus at the Zurich University of Applied Arts (ZHdK), Switzerland, and Greifswald University, Germany. In 1999 and 2002, he was Assistant Professor / Lecturer at the Estonian Academy of Arts, Tallinn. The organiser of many conferences on the Romantic movement and curator of numerous exhibitions in Germany, Switzerland, and Poland, he has also published extensively on the art of the Enlightenment, the Romantic movement, history of gardening, scientific illustrations and poster art.