German painter. As a child, Catel helped carve small wooden figures in the toyshop owned by his father. With the encouragement of the printmaker Daniel Chodowiecki, Catel enrolled at the Berlin Kunstakademie, becoming a full member in 1806. In 1807, after already making a name for himself as a watercolourist and book illustrator, he began several years of study at the Acadmie des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where his main subject was oil painting. In 1811 he moved to Italy, where he stayed for the rest of his life. Initially he wavered between Joseph Anton Koch
s classically heroic style of landscape painting and the Romantic lyricism of the Nazarenes. Eventually he found that he could best exercise his technical ability, and most quickly achieve fame and fortune, by producing Italian landscapes. He specialized in Neapolitan scenes depicting festive folk customs; and such paintings proved popular with the mass of wealthy travellers who came to Italy after the Napoleonic Wars.
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