Jakob Philipp Hackert was born in Prenzlau on September 15, 1737. Hackert was taught by his father, the portrait painter Philipp Hackert. His father died in 1768. Jakob Philipp Hackert was persuaded into landscape painting by Lesueur, the head of the Berlin academy.
After he had attracted attention with his studies of nature from the area surrounding Berlin and recommendations from educated art patrons, Hackert accompanied Baron Olthoff to Rügen and Stockholm, where he worked for art lovers and at court. In 1765 he moved to Paris and focused on Gouache painting. After his travels to Normandy and Picardie he went to Italy in 1768 and produced extensive works for Lord Hamilton in 1770 Naples.
Subsequently, the Russian general Shuvalov commissioned Hackert to produce two paintings in Rome. In 1774 Jakob Philipp Hackert returned to Naples, where an eruption of Vesuvius gave him the opportunity to draw sketches. From there, he traveled to Ravenna via the central Italian mountains.
Hackert gained Pope Pius VI's goodwill, when he painted his birth place of Cesena, and stayed in Rome for a prolonged period of time. In 1777 Jakob Philipp Hackert traveled to Sicily and the following year to Northern Italy and Switzerland.
In early 1782 King Ferdinand of Naples attracted the landscape painter Hackert. When revolution broke out in Naples, Hackert fled to Florence, where his brother Abraham set up a shop for copperplate engraving and he bought a country house.
In 1787 Goethe was in Rome and immediately called upon the Neapolitan court painter and real master Jakob Philipp Hackert to become his teacher. In their time, Hackert and Goethe were close friends.
Jakob Philipp Hackert died in Florence on April 28, 1807. Unfortunately, Hackert never painted his home region of Uckermark. Thanks to his ideal landscapes, which he combined with Romantic elements, Jakob Philipp Hacker, a German who had chosen to become a Roman, was one of the most popular landscape painters in Rome.
His large-scale vedute are reflected in numerous works on the Roman Campagna. Jacob Philipp Hackert was one of the great German landscape painters of the 18th century.