The New International Encyclopædia/Carstens, Asmus Jakob

CARSTENS, kär′stens, Asmus Jakob (1754-98). A German painter. He was born near Schleswig, May 10, 1754, the son of a poor miller. He was early apprenticed to a wine-merchant, but to procure a better livelihood, he combined with his efforts at trade the drawing of portraits in red chalk. It was in Copenhagen that he first attracted notice by his pictures, “The Death of Balder” and “Ulysses and Æolus.” Carstens was made a member of the Academy in Berlin and received from the Court a pension that enabled him to travel and to study the works of the masters in Dresden and Rome. His “The Argonauts with Cheiron” was painted in Italy. The Weimar Museum possesses many of his fine paintings and drawings. Among them his “Fates, Nemesis, Night, and Destiny” is a good example of his manner and style. Many of his drawings represent scenes from the ancient classic poets, as well as subjects from Dante and Shakespeare. Carstens, by his noble drawings, was a worthy precursor of that revival of art in Germany which was to appear later in the works of Cornelius and Overbeck. As a painter his rank is lower than as a draughtsman; he is deficient in color and decorative facility. He followed the Greek ideal, and his classical subjects represented qualities of simplicity and power that had been wanting in the works of his predecessors. Consult: Fr. Pauli, A. Carstens (Berlin, 1876); Fernow, Carstens' Leben und Werke (new ed. by Riegel, Hanover, 1867).