Coverbild Franz Xaver Messerschmidt 1736-1783
Franz Xaver Messerschmidt 1736-1783
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Edited by: Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Wien, Michael Krapf
Texts by: Michael Krapf, Almut Krapf-Weiler
March 2003 , 232 Pages
305mm x 250mm
ISBN: 978-3-7757-1246-0
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Smirking, dim-witted, grimacing or disgusted - that is how the character studies cast in lead or cut into alabaster appear to viewers: sculptures that do not adhere to any classical ideal of beauty but confront the viewer with a typology of the ugly. The fascinating character heads by the baroque sculptor Franz Xaver Messerschmidt may be indebted to his contemporary Johann Kaspar Lavater, yet they never cease to amaze with their untimely artistic aggressiveness, Modernism even, exposing the flip sides of human expression. Messerschmidt, who created conventional portraits of dignitaries such as Empress Maria Theresia and Joseph II while teaching at the Imperial Academy in Vienna, began to turn exclusively to character heads in around 1770, a fact that quickly gained him the reputation of a maverick. Having taken early retirement due to a psychological disorder that was never clearly defined, he spent the rest of his life as a recluse in Pressburg. This extensive monograph about an exceptional artist attempts an interpretation of the "deeper meaning" in an oeuvre which is as unusual as it is uncompromising. (German edition available ISBN 3- 7757-1245-3) The artist: Franz Xaver Messerschmidt (Wiesensteig 1736-1783 Preßburg), born as one of numerous children in a dyer's family living in the area Göppingen/Oberamt Geislingen, Württemberg. Moves to Munich in 1746, subsequent apprenticeships with his uncles Johann Baptist Straub, wood sculptor at the Munich court, and Philipp Jakob Straub, sculptor in Graz. In 1755, studies in Vienna; from 1760 works for the imperial court, Vienna. Travels to Rome in 1765. From 1769, substitute professor of sculpture at the academy in Vienna. Moves to Preßburg in 1777. Exhibition Schedule: Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna October 10, 2002 - February 9, 2003
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