MAGNUS, EDUARD (1799–1872), German painter. Born in Berlin, Magnus studied medicine, philosophy, and architecture and traveled in France, Italy, Spain, and England before turning to painting. Magnus was a member of the generation of painters who effected the changes of art in Berlin in the 1830s and 1840. Magnus' work reflects the transition in German art of the period from Biedermeier to Realism. Beginning as a Nazarene (see Philipp *Veit), he developed a romantic neoclassicism influenced by the French painter Ingres, and finally a realistic style. He had a good reputation as a portrait painter. His paintings differ from other portraits in the posture of his figures and in their natural facial expression, as seen in the 1845 portrait of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (private collection). Among his other subjects were the singer Jenny Lind, the sculptor Thorwaldsen, and members of the Prussian royal family. Magnus also left some paintings recording his travels. He perceived the talent of the young artist Adolf Menzel and encouraged him by buying his paintings. He was baptized as a child.
Wininger, Biog; M. Bryan, Bryan's Dictionary of Painters and Engravers (1904); Roth, Art, 546; L. Gläser, Eduard Magnus. Ein Beitrag zur Berliner Bildnisma lerei des 19. Jahrhunderts (1961).
[Jihan Radjai-Ordoubadi (2nd ed.)]