Date 1874-06-27
Publication Academy
Topic Munich Gallery exhibition
AP display
RA display
Subject art
Keywords accuracy
  ↳ quality
  ↳ rank
Standards PRB standards
  ↳ value
  ↳ accomplishment
Notes "the inner hierarchy of art . . ."

Annotation details

74 June 27 Academy


WMR pans Munich Gallery exhibition.


Rossetti, William M., "The Munich Gallery." Academy (June 27, 1874): 225. Web. 21 Sept. 2011.


The collection is billed as an exhibition of the work of Kaulbach "and other celebrated artists of the Munich school," but Rossetti suspects that the name is for the purpose of legitimizing the lesser works of other artists included in the gallery, and in fact, he notes that there are only three works, none of them color paintings, by Kaulbach in the entire collection on display. Those other works are "of a far from preeminent kind," and are "in a high degree both poor and unattractive."

Commenting on Kaulbach allows Rossetti to establish the qualities he believes a superior painter must possess:

What [Kaulbach] lacked was that "purely artistic" element-the love or instinct of executive beauty, the exquisite balance between mastery and suavity of hand. This, in the long run, is a deficiency never to be compensated. The inner hierarchy of art is composed of painters who possess that faculty; while the others-however wide-minded, however skilled and learned-have to remain in the outer courts of the temple.

Rossetti also finds the exhibition's catalogue to be lacking in the details of paintings that allow viewers to understand the story being told through the work. He describes a few of the paintings both qualitatively (". . . not with more than moderate success") and quantitatively, sketching some details and the stories behind a few of the works.


critical, historical, factual


Munich school of painting, under serving expectations

Standards of Judgment:

intellectual expression through painting rather than just technical mastery of form


Kaulbach, Piloty, Cornelius, Professor Otto, Schorn, Winkler

Writing technique/tone:

factual, appraising; disappointed


"It appears that . . . the other celebrated artists would seem to have found a royal road to celebrity;" ". . . qualities which distinguish an intellectual from a purely artistic, or a mere trained professional painter . . ."