Carl Marcus Tuscher (June 1, 1705 in Nuremberg - January 6, 1751 in Copenhagen) was a German-born Danish polymath: portrait painter, printmaker, architect, and decorator of the Baroque period.
Tuscher was born in the Free Imperial City of Nuremberg in 1705 to humble parents. His mother, Ursula Negelin, was single, while his father is said to have been Ferdinand Tuscher, who gave him his name. He was educated at Findelhaus and later as an apprentice to a painter, director of Nuremberg's Academy of Arts, Johan Daniel Preisler, who was the father of engraver Johan Martin Preisler. When his apprenticeship was over (1728), he had made considerable progress and was considered such a promising and accomplished artist that the city gave him a traveling scholarship to Rome. In Italy besides painting he lay now also to the art of building and made drawings for several churches and palaces, his projects for church buildings earned him a Papal Knight's Cross. He got employed by Prussian antiquarian Baron Philipp von Stosch, whose great collection contained over 10,000 cameos, intaglios, and antique glass pastes. Tuscher got a paltry salary for work, but during his learned patron guidance he got insight in the sciences and taught the classical languages. Stosch, who was also a British spy, for political reason had to flee from the Papal States to Florence in 1734, refugee under the tolerant rule of Gian Gastone de' Medici. Tuscher followed him to live in the grand-duchy, still employed by v. Stosch for several years, he was also given tasks by the Grand Ducal court and executed a proposal for the facade of the church of S. Lorenzo. After visiting Naples he left Italy in 1741 for France, Holland and England, even though he was aware his scholarship actually demanded himself to return home in Nuremberg after graduation.
In London he met the Danish cartoonist and explorer, Captain Frederik Ludvig Norden, whom he had befriended in Florence. At the time, he was part of the German colony in the British capital, where he was assistant at a drawing academy, led by the goldsmith GM Moser. He painted a portrait of the family of instrument-maker Burkhardt Tschudi (1742, National Portrait Gallery (London)). In November 1743 he moved to Copenhagen, where he was made court painter and royal architect invited by King Christian VI and had the counts Danneskiold-Samsoe as his benefactors. He got an apartment and studio at Christiansborg Palace.
In Denmark, his first work was a sumptuous decoration for Admiralty College building on the occasion of Princess Louise of Great Britain arrival. Later he painted a large portrait of King Christian VI on horseback, surrounded by allegorical figures (1748). It was a plafond painting in a hall of Christiansborg and were destroyed by fire in 1794 with the castle. Most of Tuscher's paintings have suffered the same misfortune. There is a portrait of King Christian VI with family (around 1744, Rosenborg) of Tuscher, but it is uncertain whether Tuscher have done it, or if it is a copy of JF Gerhard. One of the main surviving paintings of Tuscher are full portraits of Count Johan Ludvig Holstein and his brothers in the great hall at Ledreborg manor.
It was probably Tuscher, who first proposed the idea of the octagonal square in Frederiksstaden, known today as the Amalienborg Palace Square, and it was certainly the one who suggested that the site should have a monument at the center. He wrote in Italian a great work of art composed by drawings, depicting a large fountain with Frederik V's equestrian statue (1750), who gave the idea for the equestrian monument in the square, which was later performed by J.-F.-J. Saly. Tuscher also performed a floor plan to Amalienborg Square, which probably gave idea to Nicolai Eigtved, as it was done at the construction of the four palaces. The monument shows Tuscher's familiarity with the Italian Baroque art and a strong affinity with Bernini's fountains and sculpture sets in Rome. Stylistically, he remained faithful to the Italian baroque and was nicknamed the "Nordic Bernini".
He were married in Copenhagen on 15 May 1747 with Sofie Wahl (ca. 1728 - December 6, 1798). She was the daughter of fellow-painter Johann Salomon Wahl and Marie Sophie Davidson. The couple had a child; Caroline Fredericia Tuscher (January 4. 1751- August 15, 1809).
Marcus Tuscher died after a long illness on 6 January 1751 under the reign of Frederik V and was buried at Vor Frelsers Kirke (Our Saviour's Church) in Copenhagen.