Wednesday, March 15, 2017

WHAT DID MOZART LOOK LIKE?

A Review of Mozart Iconography
Vincent P. de Luise, M.D.


Wolfgang Amade' Mozart (1756 - 1791)
The ~ 1782 oil by his brother-in-law, Johann Joseph Lange


It has often been said that to discover the real Mozart, one need simply listen to his ineffable music. Yet, questions still arise: What did Mozart look like? Which are the true portraits that were made of him during his life? Can an artist capture genius in a painting? 

Of the hundreds of images of Wolfgang Amade' Mozart, only about a dozen have been attested. The early 20th century biographer Arthur Schurig crystallized this apparent Mozartean paradox: "Mozart has been the subject of more portraits that have no connection with his actual appearance than any other famous man; and there is no famous person of whom a more worshipful posterity has had a more incorrect physical appearance than is generally the case with Mozart." (1) 

One reason that has been offered for the paucity of vetted depictions of Mozart is that he was not painted by the most famous artists of his time, as had been J.S. Bach, Handel, Haydn and Beethoven. No Haussmann (Bach), Hudson (Handel), or Hoppner (Haydn) portrayed Mozart for posterity. 

Mozart's sister Maria Anna (Nannerl) captured an aspect of him: "... My brother was a rather pretty child." Later, she added that he was "small, thin, and pale in color, and lacking in any pretensions as to physiognomy and bodily appearance." The composer Johann Adolph Hasse wrote that "the boy Mozart is handsome, graceful and full of good manners."  Michael Kelly, the tenor who sang the roles of Don Basilio and Don Curzio in the premiere of Le Nozze di Figaro, famously reminisced about Mozart in 1826: "He was a remarkably small man, very thin and pale, with a profusion of fine hair, of which he was rather vain...."   

Roland Tenschert published an initial series of Mozart portraits in 1931. (2) The musicologist and historian Otto Eric Deutsch codified Mozart iconography in a seminal article in the 1956 bicentennial volume, The Mozart Companion (3), and further detailed his findings in a 1961 book.(4) Deutsch identified twelve portraits that have the provenance to be considered authentic.

Since then, there have been a few discoveries which purport to represent Mozart: the portrait from the estate of Johann Lorenz Hagenauer ("The Man in the Red Coat"), the Edlinger portrait, the Albi Rosenthal sketch, the Fruhstorfer portrait of a boy with a toy soldier, the rediscovery of the J.B. Delahaye portrait, the portrait by Leopold Bode, the Zoffany portrait of a boy with a bird's nest, and the Greuze portrait. The Hagenauer, Edlinger, Fruhstorfer, Delahaye, and Greuze have undergone biometric analysis. The Edlinger has been proven to be a monk and not Mozart. None of these portraits resembles the vetted portraits of Mozart. (These recent portraits and links to the biometrics are included in the Addendum). 

A small enamel of a young man, putatively of Mozart, was sold at auction at Sotheby's in 2014. The enamel was supposedly given by Wolfgang to his cousin, Maria Anna Thekla Mozart ("Basle"), in 1777. (5)

In 1947, a bronze "death mask," putatively of Mozart, was found in an antique shop in Vienna. Legend has it that a gypsum plaster death mask was made "shortly after Mozart died," either by Josef Deym von Stritetz or Taddeus Ribola. Upon the death of the craftsman, the mask went to his widow, and when she died, around 1821, the mask vanished. Mozart's widow Constanze Mozart Nissen wrote that she had been given "a replica" of the death mask, presumably also in plaster, but had "clumsily broken it" at some point in time. Most scholars do not accept the bronze death mask as authentic. (6,7)

The following are the canonical portraits of Mozart. A few of the portraits derive from the others, so the number of uniquely identifiable Mozart portraits is eleven:

1.The Boy Mozart, oil painting, attributed to Pietro Antonio Lorenzoni, 1763 (Internationale Stiftung Mozarteum, Salzburg). The Lorenzoni is contested. The head has been spliced into a stock painting of the clothing.

Wolfgang Mozart in 1763 at age 7.
Attributed to  Pietro Lorenzoni.





2. Leopold Mozart with Wolfgang and Maria Anna ("Nannerl"), watercolor by Louis Carrogis de Carmontelle, November 1763 (Musée Condé, Chantilly). Three variants (Musée Carnavalet, Paris; British Museum, London; Castle Howard, York), an engraving by Delafosse in 1764 after Carmontelle's painting (Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris) and several other copies are known to exist. If the youth at the keyboard is Wolfgang, he looks nothing like the Wolfgang of the Lorenzoni or the Verona portraits.
Leopold, Wolfgang and Maria Anna (Nannerl) Mozart 
by Louis Carrogis de Carmontelle



3. The Tea Party at Prince Louis-François de Conti's, in the 'Temple', oil painting by Michel Barthélemy Ollivier, 1766 (Musée du Louvre, Paris). The head of the person playing the harpsichord is so small that the painting, per O.E. Deutsch, is "iconographically worthless." In addition, the individual playing the harpsichord looks to be about 50 and not ten years of age, and cannot be seen clearly. Unless Mozart had progeria, which he did not, this is not him.

The Tea Party in "The Temple"
by Michel Barthelmey Ollivier 1766




4. Wolfgang at 14 years of age at the piano. This oil is the so-called "Verona portrait," attributed to Saverio dalla Rosa, or his maternal uncle, Giambettino Cignaroli, or the artists may have collaborated. 1770 (Private Collection). 


Mozart at the keyboard, 1770
The so-called "Verona Portrait"
by Saverio dalla Rosa or Giambettino Cignaroli



5. Miniature on ivory, attributed to Martin Knoller, 1773 (Internationale Stiftung Mozarteum, Salzburg). The portrait is contested.
The 1773 miniature on ivory
attributed to Martin Knoller




6. The anonymous portrait in enamel, 1777, presumably of Wolfgang, that he may have given to his cousin Maria Anna Thekla (the "Basle"), auctiuoned at Sotheby's in 2014. (5)
The 1777 enamel miniature that Wolfgang
may have given to his cousin, Maria Anna Thekla Mozart (the "Basle")



7. The 1777 copy of Mozart as Knight of the Golden Spur, anonymous oil painting, (Museo Internazionale e Biblioteca della Musica di Bologna). The 1770 original oil has been lost. Leopold wrote that Wolfgang was ill when this was painted.

The 1777 copy of the lost 1770 oil
Mozart with the Order of the Golden Spur



8. The Family Portrait, an oil painting attributed to Johann Nepomuk della Croce, 1780-1781 (Internationale Stiftung Mozarteum, Salzburg). Anna (Ana) Maria Walburga Pertl Mozart (Wolfgang's and Nannerl's mother, and Leopold's spouse) is seen on the wall in the portrait. She died in Paris in 1778. In 1829, when Mary and Vincent Novello met with and interviewed Constanze Mozart Nissen, she stated that the image of Wolfgang in this painting was "one of the best likenesses" of him. (8)

The Mozart Family Portrait 1780-1781
attributed to Johann Nepomuk della Croce


9. Oil painting by Johann Joseph Lange, 1782-1783 (Internationale Stiftung Mozarteum, Salzburg). Sometimes entitled "Mozart at the Piano." At some later time, the head of this portrait was affixed to a larger canvas, presumably with the intention of depicting Mozart seated at the piano, but this larger painting was unfinished; it is the one below that we see today at the Wohnhaus across from the Mozarteum. The portrait itself is on a side wall, in shadow, behind. If you scrutinize it very carefully in oblique and specular light,you can almost perceive irregularities around the head. 
In 1829, in an interview with the Novellos, Constanze Mozart Nissen stated that this Lange portrait and the della Croce painting were the best likenesses of her brother Wolfgang. The Novellos went on to write that, "..... by far the best likeness of him (Mozart), in Mrs. Constanze Nissen's opinion, is the painting in oils done by the Husband of Madame Lange (the eldest sister of Mrs. Nissen)....." who is the very same Joseph Lange who painted this portrait.(8)
Michael Lorenz has researched the Lange portrait in the context of Lange's other paintings. His conclusion is that "the Mozart portrait by Joseph Lange is not an unfinished painting of "Mozart at the Piano," but an unfinished enlargement of an original miniature of Mozart's head." (9) 
Mozart, by his brother-in-law, Joseph Lange.



10. Silhouette, engraved by Hieronymous Löschenkohl, 1785, for his Musik- und Theater-Almanach of 1786 (one copy in the Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien). The silhouette is contested. Löschenkohl correctly uses Mozart's middle name, Amade'.

The Silhouette of 1784/1785 
by Johann Hieronymus Loschenkohl




11. Medallion in red wax, by Leonard Posch, 1788 (formerly Mozart-Museum, Salzburg: missing since 1945); Deutsch lists three other variants. Grosspietsch describes six variants in detail. 

The 1788 medallion in red wax by Leonard Posch.



12. The silverpoint drawing by Dorothea (Doris) Stock, 1789 (Internationale Stiftung Mozarteum, Salzburg). This tiny and meticulously rendered portrait of Mozart, about four inches by three inches in greatest dimension, is at the Wohnhaus under glass with a convex lens over it.


The 1789 silverpoint by Doris Stock



13. The posthumous Barbara Kraft portrait of 1819 in the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, Vienna. Nannerl Mozart lent Kraft the della Croce painting and the Lange portrait, on which she based this painting.
The 1819 posthumous oil by Barbara Kraft.


An introductory article with excellent images can be found here (10). There is an extensive website of images of authenticated, inauthentic, and controversial Mozart portraits (11).  Christoph Grosspietsch has written a treatise on Mozart iconography. (12) 

Mozart scholar Cliff Eisen has offered an eloquent summary on the function of Mozart portraiture:

"Very few images of Mozart are universally agreed to be authentic. Yet the acceptance of these portraits - as well as more recently discovered portraits purporting to be Mozart - is less the result of provenance or connoisseurship than the fact that they are shrines at which Mozart scholars and Mozart lovers uncritically worship. They are representations of how we would like Mozart to look - in short they satisfy our visual biographical fancy. This is true above all of the unfinished portrait by Joseph Lange. The musicologist H.C. Robbins Landon described it as the most intimate, most profound, of all the mature  Mozart portraits - the only one, really, to catch the ambivalent nature of Mozart's mercurial mind and to show the profoundly pessimistic side of his many-sided genius." (13)


@ 2017 Vincent P. de Luise, M.D.

References 

1. Schurig, A., Wolfgang Mozart: Sein Leben und sein Werk Insel-Verlag, Leipzig 1913.
2. Tenschert, R., Mozart: Ein Kunstlerleben in Bildern und Doumenten, 1931.
3. Deutsch, O.E., Mozart Iconography, in The Mozart Companion, Robbins-Landon, H.C and Mitchell, D, eds.,  Oxford University Press 1956.
4. Deutsch, O.E., Mozart und seine Welt in zeit gemossischen Bildern. M. Zenger, ed. Verlag - Kassel, 1961.
5. http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/lot.178.html/2014/music-continental-books-manuscripts-l14406
6. https://edwardianpiano.wordpress.com/2015/07/15/count-josef-deyms-art-collection-and-mozarts-death-mask/
7. Karhausen,L., The Bleeding of Mozart, XLibris  2011 .
8. Novello, V. and Novello, M.   "A Mozart Pilgrimage- Being the Travel Diaries of Vincent and Mary Novello in the year 1829, N. de Medici di Marignano and Robert Hughes, London, 1955, reprinted 1975.  
9. http://michaelorenz.blogspot.com/2012/09/joseph-langes-mozart-portrait.html
10.http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/02/09/what-mozart-really-looked-like-14-portraits-of-the-composer-photos-music.html
11. www.mozartportraits.com
12. Grosspietsch, C., Mozart-Bilder / Bilder Mozarts  Verlag Anton Pustet, Internationale Stiftung Mozarteum 2013 https://www.amazon.de/Mozart-Bilder-Bilder-Mozarts-zwischen-Wirklichkeit/dp/3702506993
13. Eisen, C., https://www.apollo-magazine.com/features/5569418/a-new-portrait-of-mozart.thtml  

Addendum


The Fruhstorfer Portrait of a young boy with a toy soldier



The Delahaye Portrait  c.1772



The Johann Georg Edlinger Portrait   1789-1790
This portrait has been proven to be a monk and not Mozart




The Portrait in the Hagenauer Estate
("The Man in the Red Coat") 1789-1790





The anonymous Albi Rosenthal silverpoint drawing c. 1790



The Bode portrait. This portrait was executed by Leopold Bode in 1859, 68 years after Mozart died. Bode wrote that he had used the 1770 Verona portrait as a template.
Portrait of a young man by Leopold Bode 1859


For decades, a c. 1770 painting by Franz Thaddeus Heibling in the Stiftung Internationale Mozarteum was thought to be Mozart. It has been proven that the individual in the painting is not Mozart, but rather, Carl Graf Firmian.

Young man at the piano by Franz Thaddeus Heibling, c. 1770



A portrait known as the "Boy with a Bird's Nest" had at one time been attributed to the prominent British painter John Zoffany (1733-1810, and the individual depicted had been thought to represent Mozart. 
This portrait is not at all as finely rendered as the many superb portraits of children that Zoffany painted. The Mozarteum has firmly rejected the painting as being Mozart. The Zoffany scholar Martin Postle does not consider the portrait to have been painted by Zoffany, writing that "it has been stated, incorrectly, that a painting of a young boy holding a birds nest.... is a portrait of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart by John Zoffany." So, here we have a "cautionary tale," as Dexter Edge has articulated in a detailed analysis.(7) This painting is neither of Mozart nor by Zoffany.
Boy with a Bird's Nest.


A portrait of a young man, dated 1763/1764 and attributed to Jean-Baptiste Greuze, at the Yale University Collection of Musical Instruments, had at one time been said to be Mozart. Scholars have not accepted this attestation. On the label next to the portrait is written the following: " Attributed to Jean-Baptiste Greuze (1725-1805). Signed "BJG." Yale University, New Haven Connecticut, acquired 1960. Exhibitions: Mozarteum Salzburg, Austria 1910. The identification of the sitter as Mozart has never been confirmed and should be treated with skepticism."





@ 2017 Vincent P. de Luise M.D.

1. http://www.neuroscience-of-music.se/ormen/Edlinger%20Mozart-2.htm

2. http://www.neuroscience-of-music.se/ormen/Fruhstorfer%20Mozart.htm


3. http://www.neuroscience-of-music.se/ormen/Delahaye_Mozart_Braun.htm


4. http://www.neuroscience-of-music.se/ormen/Greuze_Mozart_Braun.htm


5. http://www.neuroscience-of-music.se/ormen/Hagenauer%20Mozart.htm


6. Robbins-Landon, The Mozart Compendium, New York, Schirmer Books, 1990, pp. 112-113

7. Edge, Dexter, Not Mozart, Not Zoffany: A Cautionary Tale http://www.academia.edu/7646630/Not_Mozart_Not_Zoffany_A_Cautionary_Tale_


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