Like no other artist of the nineteenth century, Hans Makart influenced an era whose embodiment he became and which went down in the annals of history as the ‘Makart period’. The Belvedere devotes a comprehensive exhibition to this exceptional artist, which is being compiled in cooperation with the Wien Museum and is going to investigate the myth of Makart.
Called to Vienna’s imperial court when still a young talent, the artist quickly climbed the ladder of success. His paintings were popular among the rising bourgeoisie and were eventually considered an indicator of social recognition and repute. Makart knew how to take advantage of the new possibilities of the emerging industrial age to market his works and use them for his own aesthetic language. His pictures and subjects became emblematic mirror images of his time and attracted attention both at home and abroad. Makart’s international recognition and appreciation, but also his painterly approach to colour, which relied on Delacroix, invite comparison with the international art of his period.
His intense painterly treatment of Richard Wagner’s operas attests to his keen sense of innovative artistic developments. The designs by Gottfried Semper, who was a friend of Richard Wagner’s, inspired Makart to conceive his own architectural fantasies, which reflects his interest in the Gesamtkunstwerk or total work of art. Held in great esteem, Markat died in 1884 at the young age of forty-four years.