Gottfried Kinkel was born in Oberkassel, Germany in 1815. After university he lectured in Bonn on theology, poetry and the history of art. He wrote books on art and published poetry including the well-received, Otto der Schutz (1846).
Kinkel was involved in the 1848 Revolution in Germany and after his arrest was imprisoned in Spandau. He escaped and managed to get to the United States. He later moved to England where he taught German in London until 1866 when he was appointed professor of archaeology and art in Zurich. Other books by Kinkel included Freiligraph (1867) and Rubens (1874). Gottfried Kinkel died in 1882.