He studied in the Düsseldorf Academy (1865–69). He went through the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71), and then continued art study under Eduard Bendemann, later under Eduard von Gebhardt. He won the state prize (1874) which paid for his studies at Rome (1875–78). He taught anatomy in the Cassel Academy (1880) and history of art (1890).
Knackfuss's paintings include:
- Battle of Mühldorf (belonging to the Kaiser)
- Battle of Turin, in Berlin Zeughaus
- Mural decorations for the officers' casino of the Potsdam Treppenhaus
- Entry of the Kaiser and Kaiserin into Jerusalem (1902)
- Holy Family altar picture in the Fulda Cathedral (1893)
- Mural decorations in the Wohlau (Silesia) gymnasium
His wringings include:
- Deutsche Kunstgeschichte (“German art history,” 1888)
- Articles on Raphael, Rembrandt Rubens, Michelangelo, Dürer, Murillo, Holbein, Titian, Velazquez, Frans Hall, van Dyck, Menzel, and others, for the serial Kunstlermonographien (“Artist monographs”)
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Rines, George Edwin, ed. (1920). "Knackfuss, Hermann". Encyclopedia Americana.
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