Anton Romako

1832 Atzgersdorf (near Vienna) - 1889 Vienna

Anton Romako studied at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts from 1847. In 1848 he went to Munich to study under Wilhelm Kaulbach and did not return to the Vienna Academy until late in 1850. He subsequently studied under Carl Rahl, whom he followed to his private school in 1851 and assisted with the design of the Ruhmeshalle in Vienna’s Arsenal military complex. In 1857 Romako moved to Rome where he stayed until 1876. During this time he regularly sent canvases to exhibitions in Vienna. He spent the rest of his life in Vienna but travelled frequently. Romako had a fresh take on art, he developed new and convincing techniques which, however, escaped the grasp of his contemporaries. He explored reality by liberally applying various stylistic elements, by creating ever new compositions and by analysing the characters in his portraits from a psychological point of view. Romako’s artistic preferences ranged from genre painting to history painting (for example, arguably his most important painting, “Tegetthoff at the Battle of Lissa” now displayed at the “Österreichische Galerie” in the Belvedere) and from landscapes and motifs of allegorical and mythological nature to portraits. The genre of portrait painting in particular he believed to have had a decisive influence on the art of the early 20th century, which saw Expressionism gain in strength.


F. Novotny, „Der Maler Anton Romako. 1832 – 1889“, Vienna-Munich 1954; H. Giese, „Anton Romako. Ein Stück Natur von nebenan gesehen“, in: Parnass, no. 5, Vienna 1990, pp. 50; „Der Außenseiter Anton Romako. 1832 - 1889. Ein Maler der Wiener Ringstraßenzeit“, Österreichische Galerie, Vienna 1992, with Lit.; Cornelia Reiter, „Anton Romako 1832-1889 / Pionier und Außenseiter der Malerei des 19. Jahrhunderts / catalogue raisonné“, Vienna 2010; Lexica: Thieme-Becker, Bénézit, Boetticher, Müller-Singer, Busse no. 86706