German portrait- and genre-painter; born Feb. 13, 1793, in Berlin; died Dec. 18, 1877, at Mayence. His father died while he was a child; and his mother, who was a daughter of Moses Mendelssohn, married Friedrich von Schlegel, who had the boy baptized.
The early part of his youth Veit spent at his step-father's home in Paris, but he was later sent to Dresden, where he studied under Friedrich Matthäi. He completed his education in Vienna, and in 1813 entered the army, taking part in the Napoleonic wars. He fought at Dresden, Kulm, and Leipsic, and was decorated with the Iron Cross for bravery in battle.
In 1815 he went to Rome, where he remained till 1830 and where he became identified with the neo-German religious school, joining Cornelius, Von Schadow, and Overbeck, together with whom he painted many important frescos; of these may be mentioned "Joseph with Potiphar's Wife" and "The Seven Fat Years" for the Casa Bartholdy, and "The Triumph of Religion" in the Vatican gallery. In Rome he painted also several subjects from Dante's "Divina Commedia" for the Villa Massimi, and a "Mary in Glory" for Santa Trinità de Monti.
Returning to Germany in 1830, Veit became director of the Staedel Institute in Frankfort-on-the-Main. For this institute he painted the following large canvases: "The Triumph of Christianity." "The Introduction of Art into Germany by Christianity," "Italia," and "Germania." The last-named, which is an allegorical picture representing Germany as a young matron, did more than any of his other paintings toward establishing his reputation.
Veit resigned the directorate of the Staedel Institute in 1843, and settled in Sachsenhausen, where he painted his "Assumption of the Virgin" for the cathedral at Frankfort, and also several pictures for King Frederick William IV. In 1853 he was elected director of the Gallery of Art in Mayence. Here he designed for the cathedral a cycle of frescos, which were executed by his pupils, being completed in 1868.
Of Veit's other paintings the following may be mentioned: "St. George" (for the church at Bensheim); "The Marys at the Sepulcher" (Berlin National Gallery); "The Ascension of Christ" (1846; cathedral, Frankfort-on-the-Main); "Madonna" (Darmstadt Gallery of Art); "Christ" (cathedral of Naumburg).
Veit painted also for the Römersaal in Frankfort-on-the-Main several portraits of emperors of the Middle Ages, of which may be mentioned: "Charlemagne," "Otto IV.," and "Friedrich II."
To the "Vereinsschrift der Görres-Gesellschaft" he contributed "Zehn Vorträge über Kunst" (Cologne, 1891).
- Meyers Konversations-Lexikon;
- Bryan, Dictionary of Painters and Engravers, vol. ii., London, 1889;
- Hans Wolfgang Singer, Allgemeines Künstler-Lexicon, vol. iii., Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1898;
- Clement and Hutton, Artists of the Nineteenth Century and Their Works, Boston, 1880.