Konrad Eberhard (German, 1768-1859)
Madonna and Child and Saints, n.d.
Ink on paper 16 3/8 in. x 21 1/8 in. (41.59 cm x 53.66 cm)
Crocker Art Museum, E. B. Crocker Collection1871.1283
An accomplished artist in many media, Konrad Eberhard received his first training with his father and brother, who were both sculptors in a small town in southwestern Bavaria. The Bishop of Augsburg noticed his talent and sponsored his study in Munich at the age of twenty-eight. He worked for the Bavarian court sculptor Roman Anton Boos, whose marbles for the garden of the Nymphenburg palace were well known. Remaining with Boos for ten years, Eberhard then received funds from Crown Prince Ludwig for travel to Italy, where he explored classical antiquity in Rome.
Eberhard’s skills attracted the attention of the Neoclassical sculptor Antonio Canova, and he soon entered the latter’s studio. After meeting the Nazarenes, a group of German artists living in Rome who looked to the 15th century for stylistic inspiration, Eberhard came to incorporate Gothic and early Renaissance elements in his art. After he had served as professor at the Munich Academy from 1819 to 1835, the artist was drawn to the spirituality of Nazarene art, leading him to narrow his focus to religious sculpture and painting for the rest of his career. This drawing, completed in 1825 during one of his Roman stays, shows his thorough understanding of 15th-century Italian altarpieces. The drawing itself, however, may well have been intended for a sculptural altarpiece rather than a painted one.