Monday, March 21, 2016

Celebration on the Occasion of the Anniversary of the Military Order of Maria Theresa

Title: Celebration on the occasion of the anniversary of the Military Order of Maria Theresa
Artist: Siegmund L'Allemand
Date: 1861

Glittering chandeliers, elaborately decorated table centres and heavily gold-braided military uniforms all contribute to the splendour of this sumptuous State occasion. The Military Order of Maria Theresa became Austria's senior award for war services when it was founded by the Empress Maria Theresa in 1757. The Order is in the shape of a symmetrical jewelled cross with the simple inscription, "Fortitudini" (for bravery) on the reverse. Worn with the Order is a scarlet edged white sash, which in this 1861 Anniversary painting can be seen worn by the Archduke raising his glass in a final toast.

This impressive canvas was painted by Siegmund L'Allemand, a notable Austrian artist. Born in Vienna in 1840, L'Allemand had his first painting lessons from his uncle Fritz L'Allemand. He later studied under Ruben and Karl Blaas and eventually in 1883 he succeeded them as professor of the Viennese Academy. L'Allemand has successfully humanised his portrayal of this very formal banquet. Chairs have been pushed back from the table, upon which many already empty decanters can be seen. In the foreground the waiters anxiously scan the room, ready with more full wine bottles. Plumed military helmets are piled on side tables; the faces of the military officers around the huge table are clearly recognisable. In this very masculine scene the only feminine touch is the sculpture of the Empress herself, presiding majestically over the proceedings. The original painting, which is quite massive, can be found in the Billiard Room of the Schloss Schönbrunn museum in Vienna.

From 1883 Siegmund L'Allemand served as a professor, and later the head of the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. An interesting footnote is that he chaired the admissions committee that in 1907 rejected admission to a young aspiring art student named Adolf Hitler. 

Source :

No comments:

Post a Comment