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Meytens, Martin van the Younger School
1695 Stockholm - 1770 Vienna.
Portrait empress Maria Theresa.
Oil on canvas, relined. Unsigned. Verso on the stretcher on a label handwritten inscribed «Bildnis von Kaiserin Maria-Theresia von Österreich gemalt von Martijn van Meytens d.J. ca. um 1755 Kaiserlicher Kammermaler Restauriert von Maler Woldemar Kohlund, München 1962-63 (portrait of Empress Maria-Theresa of Austria painted by Martijn van Meytens the Younger circa 1755 imperial court painter Restored by painter Woldemar Kohlund, Munich 1962-63)».
Empress Maria Theresa (1717 - 1780), Archduchess of Austria and Queen of Bohemia and Hungary, confronts us confidently and in all her stately splendor in this glorious portrait, a stunning testimony to exuberant, late Baroque splendor. The representative of enlightened absolutism is dressed in precious fabrics appropriate to her highest rank, partly interwoven with gold threads and lined with refined lace. The Habsburg potentate has taken her position next to a massive table bearing the weight of her numerous insignia of power, including a stylised Imperial Crown, the Hungarian crown of St Stephen and the Bohemian royal crown. These symbols of power legitimised her claim to rule, which was questioned in many ways. With programmatic portraits such as these, nobles in the provinces of the empire, such as the governors of Ortenau from the House of Neveu, could express their loyalty to the House of Habsburg.
This monumental state portrait is fitted into a fully gilded, magnificent wooden frame, in the flourishing South German Rococo style, with typical ornamentation including dynamic crests of waves, intertwined C-arches, naturalistic floral tendrils, burst pomegranates, and a double-headed eagle emblem.
The portrait of her husband Franz I Stephan of Lorraine is conceived as a counterpart (lot 3222).
Statement: We would like to thank Dr. Georg Lechner, curator of the Baroque collection, Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna, for the scientific consultation via
We would like to thank Prof. Dr. Marcus Köhler, Technische Universität Dresden, for the kind remarks via
Provenance: private property of the family of Neveu, Durbach.