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The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Carstens, Asmus Jakob

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CARSTENS, Asmus Jakob, a German painter, born at Sanct Jürgen, near Schleswig, May 10, 1754, died May 26, 1798. He was a miller's son, and had a youthful passion for painting, but was placed in a mercantile house. After quitting his master he went to Copenhagen, where he supported himself for seven years by taking portraits in red chalk, producing during the time a large historical picture, the “Death of Æschylus,” and another painting, “Æolus and Ulysses.” In 1783 he started for Rome, but his means did not permit him to go beyond Mantua, where he remained a month and then went to Lübeck, where he lived five years in obscurity. He was then introduced by the poet Overbeck to a wealthy patron, by whose aid he went to Berlin, where his “Fall of the Angels,” a colossal picture, containing over 200 figures, gained him a professorship in the academy of fine arts. Two years' labor in Berlin and a travelling pension enabled him in 1792 to go to Rome, and study the works of Michel Angelo and Raphael. Afterward he spent some time in Dresden, studying the works of Albert Dürer. His best works were designs in aquarelle and paintings in fresco; he rarely painted in oil. His biography was published in 1806 (new ed. by Riegel, 1867), and his works, engraved by Müller, in 1869.