As from 2009, the Belvedere presents this new exhibition series entitled Masterpieces in Focus: every spring and autumn, special displays of selected works are meant to demonstrate the high quality of our holdings. The second presentation within this series highlights the art of Franz Anton Maulbertsch (1724-1796), Vienna’s most outstanding painter during the second half of the eighteenth century. The subjects treated by the artist ranged from mythological and religious narratives to complex allegories. At the zenith of his career, Maulbertsch’s style was characterized by downright shocking colour schemes, dramatically enhanced light effects, and an expressiveness bordering eccentricity. The adherents of Neo-Classicism considered his works to be a danger for young artists, and even to Oskar Kokoschka his art “became a startling visual experience”.
The Belvedere preserves the largest holdings of autograph paintings and oil sketches by this artist, dating from all of his creative periods. The exhibition - mounted in three rooms within the collection - reconstructs the evolution of this master, who exercised great influence on the art production of his time.