FRANZ ANTON MAULBERTSCH
Allegorical Depiction (study for a ceiling decoration)
Oil on canvas
Inv. No. 1622
47 × 69 cm
After a childhood spent on Lake Constance, Maulbertsch received his artistic training in Vienna; he is considered one of the last significant exponents of monumental Baroque painting. This oil sketch, presumably depicting an allegory of time, is a study for his first major work: the ceiling fresco in the stateroom of Suttner Castle in Kirchstetten, Lower Austria. The dramatic throng of gods ebbs to make room for the depiction of Saturn, the god of time, in cloudy celestial spheres: a stylistic device of Baroque ceiling decoration. Although conceived as a preliminary study, the early eighteenth-century oil sketch attains the status of an autonomous artwork.