German art critic; born in Coswig-on-the-Elbe March 14, 1802; died at Berlin May 17, 1868. When he was only four years of age his parents moved to Erfurt, where he received his first instruction in the art of sketching, and where he also devoted himself to the study ofmathematics and architecture, later passing the state examination for architects in Berlin. In spite of this training, however, he decided to pursue an artist's career. Supported by a government scholarship, he traveled through Italy, visiting Venice (1844), Florence, and Rome (1845), and returning in 1846 to Berlin, where he resided until his death. During the Revolution of 1848 Unger was elected captain of the artists' corps which protected the museums. In 1852 he traveled through France, Belgium, and Holland, in which last-named country he discovered Rubens' "Sacrifice of Abraham."
Unger produced no paintings of importance, only a few portraits painted by him being in existence; but his knowledge of the technique and individuality of many a great painter made it possible for him to restore old paintings and to become an art critic of note. He was the author of "Das Wesen der Malerei," Leipsic, 1851; "Kritische Forschungen im Gebiete der Malerei Alter und Neuer Zeit," Berlin, 1868; and "Künstler und Fürst," an epos, published posthumously, Berlin, 1875. After the death of his parents Unger joined the Protestant Church.
- Albert Pick, Ueber den Erfurter Maler und Kunstgelehrten Manasse Unger, Erfurt, 1890.