Jakob Philipp Hackert
1737 Prenzlau / Uckermark – San Piero di Careggio / Florence 1807

German landscape painter and draughtsman

After first studies under his father, the portrait painter Philipp Hackert (?-1786), and under his uncle, Jakob Philipp Hackert studied at the academy of arts in Berlin from 1758. In 1764 he travelled to Sweden, invited by the Swedish-Pomeranian senior civil servant and patron of art Baron Adolf Friedrich Olthoff (1718-1793) and the businessman and banker Joachim Ulrich Giese (1720-1780), both had been leaseholders of the Stralsund mint from 1757-63. At Boldevitz, the estate of Baron Olthoff, and in the town house in Stockholm Jakob Philipp Hackert created wall paintings with architectural motifs and landscape pictures. In 1765 he went for further studies – together with Olthoff's nephew Balthasar Anton Dunker (1746-1807) – to Paris. There he started to get intensively into gouache paintings. In Paris he was mainly influenced by the landscape painter Claude Joseph Vernet (1714-1789) and the copper engraver Johann Georg Wille (1715-1808).

In 1768 he moved – together with his younger brother, the painter Johann Gottlieb Hackert (1744-1773) – to Italy, where he mainly stayed in Rome and Naples until 1799. At that time he made numerous study trips through the area around Rome and Naples as well as travels through many other regions in Italy creating his landscape paintings. In Rome and Naples he got in contact with the patrons of art Johann Friedrich Reiffenstein (1719-1793) and William Hamilton (1730-1803). Soon he became well known as a very talented landscape painter and he was commissioned by many noblemen from all over Europe to make drawings, e.g. by the Russian general Schuwalow.

In 1776 Georg Hackert (1755-1805) was requested by his elder brother Jakob Philipp Hackert to come to Rome. From that time on the Hackert brothers closely worked together. Georg Hackert was a very talented copper engraver and etcher. By creating and publishing many engravings after the master drawings, gouache and oil paintings of his brother his name and works of art were widely spread. Other artists who made etchings, copper engravings or aquatints after works of art by Jakob Philipp Hackert were e.g. Balthasar Anton Dunker and Wilhelm Friedrich Schlotterbeck (1777-1819).

In 1786 Jakob Philipp Hackert became painter at the court of King Ferdinand IV. in Naples. The Hackert brothers moved to Naples and Georg Hackert opened his own school for engravers, e.g. Vincenzo Aloja (about 1769-1817) was one of his pupils. In 1786/87 Jakob Philipp Hackert met Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) several times in Naples and Rome and together they made some study trips in the area around, e.g. to Tivoli. Goethe, who regarded Hackert highly, had drawing lessons with him, became a keen collector of his pictures and his first biographer („Philipp Hackert. Biographische Skizze. Meist nach dessen eigenen Aufsätzen entworfen von Goethe“, published in 1811).

In 1799 Jakob Philipp Hackert and his brother Georg fled from Naples via Livorno and Pisa to Florence, after Naples was conquered by the French troops to export the Revolution to Italy and the counter revolution of the Naples Lazzaroni had started. In Florence Georg Hackert continued creating and publishing engravings and Jacob Philipp Hackert made landscape paintings, e.g. in 1803 for the Duke Karl August of Weimar. Jakob Philipp Hackert was one of the most popular and successful landscape painters of the neo-classical period. His works of art and the engravings after his master drawings and paintings – created by his brother and other important artists of his time – were and still are very popular collectors' items.


C. Nordhoff / H. Reimer: Jakob Philipp Hackert 1737-1807. Verzeichnis seiner Werke. 2 volumes. Akademie Verlag. Berlin 1994.

Cesare de Seta / Claudia Nordhoff: Hackert. Catalogue. Electa Napoli. Naples 2005.