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Occasional Painting — Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag Herr Mozart!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Sagen kase!

Vienna, Panorama from Palais Kaunitz (1759-60)

by Bernardo Bellotto (1720-80), Oil on canvas, 134 x 237 cm
Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest (image courtesy of Web Gallery of Art)

In honour of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s 251st birthday (though he doesn’t look a day over 36), I thought I would resurrect the Occasional Painting archive with this landscape of Vienna (where Mozart spent much of his adult life) by Italian painter Bernardo Bellotto, who was a nephew and pupil of the more famous painter Canaletto.

For me, this painting has a kind of ‘snapshot’ quality, like it could have been taken with a point and click camera. This is not to deny the obvious skill and quality of the work, but it has a definite feeling of spontaneity. While the horizon line is straight, the angles of the stone terrace, which the people are standing on in the foreground, and the slightly slanted church (presumably a church) in the back left corner, make the painting look a bit crooked. It isn’t, and my interpretation that this look like a tourist holiday-snap from the 18th century is a thoroughly modern one, and doesn’t hold up to academic scrutiny, but, well,  no one has ever accused me of being an academic.

Through the links you can take a look at other works by Bellotto, and his teacher, Canaletto, if you’re so inclined. If you’re not, well, I don’t really care.o llewopemearg

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