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Austria • 1698−1762

Bishop Gourke in 1722 facilitated his long stay in Italy, where he studied, among other things, with Sebastian Ricci in Venice and Francesco Solimen in Naples

In 1727/28 he created the first main work, a picture of the main altar and the dome of the Kajetanerkirche church in Salzburg.

Then he lived in Vienna, where the artists Rottmeier and Gran dominated, so Troger had to move to Lower Austria. His last major work is a painting of the main altar of the Brixner Cathedral, which is painted in a very expressive, promising style (1750). Then he created only easel paintings.

In 1754-57 he was rector of the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna

Since childhood, Paul Troger was fond of painting. In the years 1712-1714. He received his first lessons from the local artist Matthias Durchner. Then, with the help of the Firmian family, the gifted young man got the opportunity to visit the workshop of Giuseppe Alberti (until 1716). In 1722, Bishop of Gurk helped the young artist make a trip to Italy, where Paul studied in Venice with Giovanni Battista Piazzetta, Giovanni Battista Pittoni and Sebastiano Ricci, in Naples with Francesco Solimena, as well as with Federico Benkovic and Silvestro Manaigo. Troger visited both Bologna and Rome, copying the works of modern Italian masters. Among those who influenced its development are Carracci, Luca Giordano and Giuseppe Crespi. As a result of studying various Italian art schools and new trends in painting, the work of the Austrian acquired a free texture and compositional lightness. And the traditions of Italian Baroque were later rethought by him in the spirit of Rococo.

Returning from Italy, Troger worked in Salzburg. One of his first major works was the altar image and painting of the dome of the Kayetanerkirche church in Salzburg (“Caetan in Glory”, between 1725 and 1728). In 1728, Troger moved to Vienna. There he presented himself with the opportunity to study the work of masters of fresco painting - Rottmayr and Grana. By order of the monasteries of Lower Austria, he created most of his monumental works, collaborating with the Tyrolean architect Josef Munggenast.

One of the first significant works was the painting of the arch of the church in An der Traisen, “The Triumph of Faith” (1730-1731). Further, Troger fulfilled the order for the decoration of the Marble Hall and the library of the Benedictine monastery in Melk on the Danube (c. 1732). The ceiling painting “Divine Wisdom surrounded by Virtues and Sciences” is made in the spirit of Italian Baroque, popular in Austria. The artist, in contrast to his early works, turns to light color, bright colors. Building a composition around the main figures, Troger gives great attention to the plasticity of forms, there are many folds in the clothes of the characters.

In painting the ceiling of the library of the monastery in Tsvetla (1732-1733), Troger uses the motives of the Venetian landscape, which is characteristic of many of his works.

For many years (1732-1752), the master worked for the Benedictine monastery in Altenburg, creating one of the most significant works of monumental painting in Central Europe. In the painting of the dome of the church (1733-1734), based on the Gospel of John, the composition of his own fresco in the Church of England (1728-1729) is repeated. The artist quite often used the compositional solutions tested earlier. In the library of the same Altenburg Abbey, Troger later portrayed King Solomon and Queen of Sheba (1742). "Multiplication of bread" in the refectory of the monastery in Gerasa (1738) is remarkable for its successful transmission of a light-air atmosphere. A similar plot appeared in Troger’s painting and earlier in the painting of the chapel of the hospital in Gradistko (now Czech Republic, 1731).

In 1739, Troger designed a staircase in the Göttweig Abbey with a fresco with a portrait of Charles VI in the form of Apollo.

In 1740-1741, when Troger was at the pinnacle of fame, he performed the song “Adoration of the Lamb” on the ceiling of the library in the Zeitenstetten Abbey (earlier, in 1735, the artist already worked in the Marble Hall of the same abbey). In this work, the artist abandoned massive forms, depicting elongated figures, the fragility of which is emphasized by linear and brittle angular folds, and painted in light color. Decorated by Troger and the Main Hall of this monastery.

One of Troger’s last works is the painting of the cathedral in Brixen (“Madonna with Angels and Saints,” between 1748 and 1752; executed jointly with the students), is distinguished by expression and a spectacular perspective. The fresco is made in silver colors and completely devoid of baroque pathetics.

The artist, nicknamed the "favorite of prelates," customers appreciated for the speed of work. In later years, in order to maintain a high pace, Troger turned to the help of his students. Since 1755, due to the deterioration of his health, Troger no longer performed fresco painting.

In the easel works of Troger, the influence of Italian artists is especially strong, they are characterized by picturesque freedom of performance and creative imagination. Sometimes the works begun by Troger were completed by his students.

The early paintings of Troger are characterized by rigidity in the image of draperies - for example, in the painting Madonna and St. Bernard ”, written in 1722-1725. for the Episcopal Palace in Klagenfurt. Scene "Crucifixion of St. Andrei ”from the church of An der Traisen (1731) is literally permeated with light; it is characterized by narrative, plasticity in the image of bodies, luminosity of colors and ease of drapery.

In the paintings performed by the master in the 30s - 40s. XVIII century., There was a subtle color gradation, linear rhythm and a melodic relationship between the figures, in which you can notice the influence of Maratta and Trevisani (“Death of St. Joseph”, 1739-1742; “Madonna in Glory”, 1740-1745). The painting "Martyrdom of St. Stefan ”(1745) is marked by zealous piety, but the dramatic tension of the figures is similar to the acting here. In the composition "Apotheosis of St. St. John of Nepomuk ”(Neuklosterkirche, 1748), depicting a Czech church figure canonized in 1729, the figures are presented in an unusual intricate movement.

Especially popular Troger's works were numerous oil sketches, light in color, painted with moving strokes, with sharp effects and fractional forms (“Martyrdom of St. Sebastian”); they were often copied by the artist’s students.

Drawings of Troger are close to the Venetian tradition. The sketches are filled with a nervous, cursory touch without shadows; in the elaborated drawings, the transition from shadow to light is indicated very subtly with the help of cross strokes (“Playing Putti”).

Troger also performed about 20 etchings using the technique of etching and dry needles.

The theme of the work of Troger is reduced mainly to religious compositions, mythological and allegorical. All of them are marked by pure Tyrolean naturalism and include everyday realistic details.

Beginning in the 1750s Troger left the monumental painting and completely switched to easel.

He taught at the Vienna Academy of Arts. In the early 1750s. Troger was elected professor of the Academy, and in 1754 became its rector. The artists he influenced greatly are Franz Zygrist, Franz Karl Palko, Franz Anton Maulberch, Martin Knoller, Caspar Franz Sambach. Paul Troger abandoned the gloomy color in favor of the bright colors characteristic of Italian painting. This circumstance and the expressive, dramatic manner of performance inherent in the works of Troger had a significant impact on the work of Austrian artists of the following decades.

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