The landscape painter studied at the Vienna Academy under Joseph M÷ssmer (1780-1845). From 1834 onwards, the study of nature took him, like many of his colleagues, on hikes and travels through the Alpine countries. Before his first successes as a painter in 1836, Hansch coloured cheap prints. After 1848, the artist, who had meanwhile become a member of the Vienna Academy, changed to larger formats and attracted the attention of the imperial family with spectacular motifs, such as high-Alpine landscapes. The ensuing years were marked by success. In 1860, Hansch, who was influenced by Alexandre Calame (1810-1864), won the first prize for landscape painting at the Vienna Academy. This was followed by major exhibitions of his works. In 1873, the artist lost his entire fortune in the stock market crash and retired to Salzburg. His sudden death put an end to his plan to set up a school of landscape painting in Salzburg.
The spiritual-artistic discovery of the Alps started at the end of the 18th century, inspired by the Enlightenment and the new relationship to nature which resulted from it. Mountains were explored from the most diverse aspects. Aesthetic, philosophical, sociological and scientific questions took centre stage together with the emergence of tourism. Mountaineers tackled the conquest of the Alps, which had become a national myth. Archduke John's attempt to scale the Gro▀venediger in 1828 had failed, and the first ascent of the mountain took place in 1841. Hansch himself, who, in this work, depicts the high-Alpine region as a majestic spectacle, went on tough climbing tours in the mountains, in order to observe nature in these regions. Tiny figures crouching at the top of a sheer rock face are dwarfed by the awesome grandeur of the snow-covered peak of the Gro▀venediger, a veritable seat of the gods. The artist makes them witnesses of a great experience. The fascination of the painting lies in the depth and width of the picture space, which is structured in layers like a stage set. Hansch, who specialised in high-Alpine landscapes with their exciting spatial dimensions, created a heroic painting which transcends mere topography.
Gabriele Groschner, Thomas Habersatter, Erika Mayr-Oehring (Ed.): Masterworks. Residenzgalerie Salzburg. Salzburg 2002, p. 128