Hans Makart is a famous Austrian artist of the second half of the 19th century, an outstanding master of historical painting, still life, allegories, landscape and portraiture. The artist’s work had a huge impact on the European art of that time, and most of his paintings are written in an academic style. The biography of the painter is replete with numerous interesting events, although he lived a very short life.
Hans Makart was rightfully considered the superstar of his time, and his studio was a place of attraction for the cream of Viennese society. A separate style in art with characteristic flowing shapes and bright colors “Makartstil” was even named after the artist.
Biography of Hans Makart
Hans Makart was born on May 28, 1840 in Salzburg in the family of the administrator of the residence of the local Catholic archbishop. The father of the future artist, in his free time from his main work, was fond of painting and graphics. It was he who taught his son the basics of drawing and woodcutting, but, unfortunately, the head of the family died as soon as the boy was 9 years old.
After graduating from high school, in 1858 Hans Makart left for Vienna and entered the local Academy of Arts. But even in his first year, he was expelled from this prestigious educational institution with the wording “Professional unsuitability”, when local teachers unanimously recognized the young man as a hopeless student.
The novice artist withstood this heavy blow of fate with extraordinary resilience, deciding to act differently. Makart went to Munich, where his distant relative, Jost Schiffmann, has recently lived. For two years he took private lessons from his uncle, and then again became a student, but not at the Vienna, but at the Munich Academy of Arts.
This time the young man was much more fortunate with the teachers.
His mentor was Karl Theodor von Piloty, who, unlike his Austrian colleagues, believed in the talent of a young talent. Under the guidance of an experienced master, Hans Makart not only brilliantly graduated from an educational institution, but also developed his own recognizable style of performance.
During his studies, Makart had the opportunity to visit major cities in Europe at the expense of the Academy. He made study trips to London, Paris and Rome, where he got acquainted with the works of the best masters of painting from different eras. Then he began to paint independently and by the end of the 1860s acquired the fame of a talented young artist.
In 1869, Hans received a personal invitation from the Austrian emperor to return to Vienna for permanent residence. Even before moving to the Austrian capital, he married a Munich-born Amalie Francisca Roitmayr, but this marriage turned out to be very short-lived, since only 4 years after the wedding, the artist’s wife died.
Arriving in Vienna, Hans Makart received at his disposal at the expense of the state a spacious building of a former foundry for living and working. Finding himself in the center of attention of the capital’s elite, the young painter quickly acquired wealthy customers and began to earn decent money.
New workshop on Gushausstrasse
Very soon, using the proceeds from the sale of his works, Hans Makart built a new workshop at 25 Gushausstrasse, which he furnished with furniture, carpets, antiques and weapons. His residential apartments were located in the same building on the second floor. Gradually the painter’s studio became a meeting place for the cream of Viennese society. Local celebrities constantly visited Makart artists, writers, actors, as well as representatives of the most influential families of the Austrian capital.
Since 1873, the master constantly organized grandiose festivals in his workshop, which members of the imperial family attended with pleasure. So he became a prominent local celebrity and a recognized leader of the artistic life of Vienna. Moreover, Hans Makart made his own new style of interior trendy, and soon most of the apartments of wealthy citizens in the capital of the empire were furnished according to the model of his salon.
Despite being very busy, the painter managed to find time for traveling to distant countries.
In the winter of 1875-1876, he visited Egypt, then visited Belgium and the Netherlands, after which he went on a long trip to Spain and Morocco. In 1878, the artist was appointed professor of historical painting at the Vienna Academy, and a little later he headed the largest exhibition complex in the Austrian capital Künstlerhaus.
At the end of July 1882, the artist married a second time, and the former prima ballerina of the Vienna Opera House Bertha Linda became his chosen one. But the genius Austrian was no longer destined to enjoy the measured family life. On October 3, 1884, Hans Makart died at the age of 44, and the cause of his early death was brain damage caused by an exacerbation of chronic syphilis. The sudden death of the genius was a huge shock for the Viennese elite, and his remains were buried with great honors in the city’s central cemetery.
The most famous paintings
The great Austrian master has created many worthy masterpieces during his short life. And yet, some of the most famous paintings by Hans Makart include:
- “Modern Cupids” (1868) a work written while still studying at the Munich Academy. Most of all, the artist impressed the audience with the unusual composition of the work, consisting of three separate panels.
- The Triumph of Ariadne (1874) is the most famous work of the mythological genre, created by the master. He painted this picture during the period of passion for the work of the great Rubens (Pieter Paul Rubens), which is clearly visible in the style of its execution.
- “Five Senses” (1872-1879) the famous allegorical masterpiece of the painter, striking with its unusual form. The master deliberately separated the images of five beautiful naked women, symbolizing sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch, from each other with white stripes.
- Charles V’s Entry into Antwerp (1878) is a work that a significant part of the conservative Austrian public initially perceived negatively. The image of a real European monarch surrounded by many naked women has caused violent indignation of many guardians of the moral norms of society.
Hans Makart was an artist of genius and left a vivid mark on 19th century European art. And for Austria, he will forever remain a great painter and designer, with whose name a whole cultural era is still associated in this country.