Franz Anton Maulbertsch


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(b Langenargen, Lake Constance, 7 June 1724; d Vienna, 7 Aug. 1796).

The outstanding Austrian decorative painter of the 18th century. He was based in Vienna for most of his career, but he was active (and extremely productive) over a wide area of central Europe: he is recorded working in almost 60 different places and most of his paintings (altarpieces as well as frescos) are still in the churches and secular buildings in Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia for which they were painted. His vivacious, colourful, and emotional style was almost completely resistant to Neoclassical influences, representing the last glorious flowering of the Baroque and Rococo tradition, although his final paintings understandably reveal signs of tiredness. Examples of his work that show him at the exhilarating height of his powers are the altar and ceiling frescos (1757–8) in the church of Sümeg, Hungary. His painterly dash is even more apparent in his oil sketches, which are well represented in the Barockmuseum, Vienna. He was also an outstanding etcher, although his output in this field was tiny compared with his painted oeuvre.

Subjects: Art.

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