Thursday, September 4, 2014

Joseph Karl Stieler

Portrait of Ludwig van Beethoven when composing the Missa Solemnis
oil on canvas
62 × 50 cm
Beethoven-Haus, Bonn, Germany

Joseph Karl Stieler (1781-1858) was a German painter. Born in Mainz to a family of engravers and die-cutters, he received some artistic training from his father. From 1820 until 1855 he worked as royal court painter of the Bavarian kings. He is known for his Neoclassical portraits, especially for the Gallery of Beauties at Nymphenburg Palace in Munich.

Born in the city of Mainz to a long-established family of engravers, punchcutters and die makers, he received some artistic training from his father. After the early death of his father, he autodidactically completed his apprenticeship and began his career as a painter of miniatures, which were increasingly sought after by bourgeois circles after Mainz had been occupied by French revolutionary troops in 1792. From 1802 to 1805 he attended the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. In 1808, he established himself as an independent portraitist in the city of Frankfurt. From 1812 he worked at the court of King Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria. In 1816, he again travelled to Vienna to paint the portrait of Emperor Francis I of Austria. Between February and April 1820, he worked on his portrait of Ludwig van Beethoven, which is probably the most well-known representation of the composer today.