Location: Winter Palace
In presenting Martin van Meytens the Younger (1695–1770) in autumn 2014, the Belvedere highlights one of the most important European painters of the Baroque age. Meytens, who documented influential personalities of his time in a highly impressive manner, numbers among the portraitists most preferred by the Austrian imperial family under Maria Theresa. Of Dutch origin and born in Sweden, the artist sojourned in France, England, and Italy to study the art of these countries. Under the impact of various European models he developed his own specific style, which he later successfully passed on to his numerous pupils. Originally trained as a miniaturist, Meytens brought monumental painting to perfection over the years, but – except for a few forays into figure painting – always remained true to portraiture.
The exhibition at the Winter Palace introduces Martin van Meytens the Younger on the basis of his most significant works, the focus being on portraits of two or more sitters. A further focal point of the show will be the depiction of prominent personalities of contemporary spiritual, artistic, and political life (such as Franz Christoph von Scheyb, Pietro Metastasio, and Daniele Antonio Bertoli), giving a vivid impression of the elites of those days. Moreover, the exhibition will look into the careers of the artist’s most important students, including Joseph Hickel. This new generation of artists represents the transition from the stately Baroque portrait they had adopted from Meytens to a much more sober style that was committed to Josephinism and the Enlightenment.