Mozart's Birthplace

Mozart's Birthplace

Getreidegasse 9
A-5020 Salzburg
Get directions

Tel.: +43-662-84 43 13
Fax: +43-662-84 06 93
mozartmuseum@mozarteum.at

Opening hours

Daily: 9 am – 5.30 pm
July / Augst: until 8.30 am – 7.00 pm
(last entry 6.30 pm)

Mozart Residence

Mozart Residence

Makartplatz 8
A-5020 Salzburg
Get directions

Tel.: +43-662-874227-40
Fax: +43-662-87 42 27 83
mozartmuseum@mozarteum.at

Opening hours

Daily: 9 am – 5.30 pm
July / Augst: until 8 pm
(last entry 7.30 pm)

Salzburg Mozarteum Foundation

Salzburg Mozarteum Foundation


Schwarzstr. 26, A-5020 Salzburg
Get directions

Great Hall & Viennese Hall

Mag. Reinhard Haring
Rentals, Disposition
Tel. +43 (0) 662 889 40 22
E-Mail: haring@mozarteum.at

Bibliotheca Mozartiana

Dr. Armin Brinzing
Bibliotheca Mozartiana (Director)
Tel: +43 (0) 662 889 40 13
Fax: +43 (0) 662 889 40 50
E-Mail: brinzing@mozarteum.at

Latest News

11.01. 2013
New Mozart Portrait

MOZART PICTURES – PICTURES OF MOZART  Portrayals between wishful thinking and reality  Exhibition in the Mozart Residence, Makartplatz 8, 26 January – 14 April 2013 

The exhibition Mozart Pictures – Pictures of Mozart organized by the Mozarteum Foundation presents the most important historical portraits of the composer.  On show are portraits from his time as well as types of pictures that evolved later and from which a special image of Mozart can be deduced.  There are in fact not very many authentic portraits of the composer who was born in Salzburg in 1756.  Much of what makes up the present-day image of Mozart was added only later.

The preparations for the exhibition have produced some sensational findings.  A questionable portrait was identified as an original Mozart! On the other hand a picture that was regarded as a portrait proved to be a fake! And the renowned “unfinished picture” by Joseph Lange was finished during Mozart’s lifetime.

 

 1. The Mozart Fake

 

 

Anonymous

Boy with the Bird’s Nest
Oil on canvas, allegedly 1764
80 x 60 cm
Salzburg, International Mozarteum Foundation (ISM), Mozart Museums and Archives

 

For a long time it has been doubted whether Mozart is shown in the picture.  Now it is certain that the boy with the bird’s nest in the picture is not Mozart.  An inscription indicating that it was Mozart was added later. This was how it was sold to the Mozarteum Foundation in 1924/25.

 A recently found restoration report dating from 1928 has established that the portrait considered to be of Mozart is in fact a fake. The former inscription “W. A. Mozart 1764”, which was used as proof of its authenticity was not on the original and was removed by the restorer.  In other words it was consciously falsified in order to increase the value.  The illustration made of the portrait before it was sold shows the condition of the picture before it was restored.

The illustration was commissioned by the same art dealer who sold the portrait Boy with the Bird’s Nest to the Mozarteum Foundation.

It was also originally assumed that Joseph Zoffany (1733-1810) had painted the portrait but a study carried out recently by experts proved that this too is false.

 

 2. Was the unfinished Mozart Portrait finished?

 

 Johann Joseph Lange (1751-1831)

Unfinished portrait of Mozart
Oil on canvas, spring 1789
34.3 x 29.5 cm
Salzburg, ISM, Mozart Museums and Archives

 

One of the most renowned portraits of Mozart has to be seen in a completely new light.  What was originally a small half portrait of the composer later had large parts added to it.  However, these parts remained unfinished. The reasons for this are unknown.

Joseph Lange painted the profile of his brother-in-law in 1789.  Radiological analyses have now shown that the famous unfinished portrait was very probably complete in Mozart’s lifetime.  A smaller, rectangular middle section with Mozart’s head, neck and shoulders was stuck on to a second canvas.

In order to even out the surface the side areas were grounded in white lead and covered with another canvas.  The “unfinished” parts now visible on the picture can only have been added afterwards.  It has not been established why.

 

 3. The Mozart Discovery

 

 

 “Joh: Mozart 1783”

Miniature painting on ivory, in a brass frame beneath glass, inset in a snuff box made of tortoiseshell, 1783?, oval: 3 x 2.5 cm
Salzburg, ISM, Mozart Museums and Archives

 

Until now the small portrait on the snuff box always had to be regarded with a large question mark.  Now it is certain: it shows a portrait of the composer Wolfgang Amadé Mozart!

Not only that.  It is the only portrait on which, after 1781 until his death, he is shown en face, i.e. facing the observer.

While sifting through all the documents and sources this portrait was clearly identified as a portrait of Mozart from the year 1783.  The miniature has a remarkable likeness to the engraving made in 1829 by the Dresden copper engraver Gottschick.  For this engraving he referred to a miniature by Grassi.

It could well be that the portrait on the box was a work by Grassi, as Mozart and the painter met in Vienna.

 

Addendum: the earliest printed portrait of the adult Mozart, new dating

Heinrich Philipp Carl Bossler (1744-1812)

 

Silhouette, Signor Mozart
Copper engraving, Speyer 1784
Picture section: 12.8 x 8.3 cm; leaf: 14.1 x 9.3 cm
Salzburg, ISM, Mozart Museums and Archives

 

Portraits of Mozart were published already during his lifetime as copper engravings.  The Mozarteum Foundation owns a copy of a print which was long assumed to date from 1795, in other words it was published after Mozart’s death.  But this is not true:

A few years ago the researcher Hans Schneider was able to prove that the illustration was made as early as 1784 and is thus an authentic picture of Mozart.  Until now not much attention was given to this finding.

 

Exhibition Team:

Dr. Gabriele Ramsauer
Dr. Christoph Großpietsch
Dr. Sabine Greger-Amanshauser
Linus Klumpner, Bakk. phil.

 

The exhibition is on display in all rooms of the museum and can be visited with the regular entrance ticket (admission: € 10; concessions: € 8.50, children € 3.50).

 


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