Franz Xaver Winterhalter (April 20, 1805, Menzenshvand, Styria — July 8, 1873, Frankfurt am Main, Germany) - an outstanding portrait painter, painter, lithographer. Franz Winterhalter was the court painter of King Louis-Philippe, later - Emperor Napoleon III. From under his brush came a gallery of portraits of almost all the royal families of Europe, many prominent nobles and aristocrats. The author of the famous "portrait of Sissy" (Empress Elizabeth of Austria).
Features of the artist Franz Winterhalter: in popularity and demand at Franz Winterhalter’s royal courts of Europe can only be compared withRubens and Van dyck. The grandees liked his work: Winterhalter knew how to flatter his high-born models, slightly embellish his appearance and masterfully write out curvaceous fashionable dresses, which the ladies particularly liked. The artist superbly conveyed the texture of the fabric, the finest lace, the luxurious glimmer of jewels, wrote without sketches, quickly and confidently. Portraits Winterhalter consistently liked customers for realism, elegance and sophistication. If at the beginning of his creative career, the work of Winterhalter was characterized by neoclassicism, then later, after a visit to Italy, he introduced the Rococo style to his works. The royal families of England, France, Spain, Russia, Portugal, Mexico and Belgium entrusted him to paint their portraits.
Winterhalter's childhood was spent on the parent farm in the village of Menzenshvand. The boy’s father understood that cooking the tar would make a profit, but he wouldn’t lead “into people”. Therefore, Franz graduated from the school at the Benedictine monastery, and at the age of 13 he went to Freiburg and enrolled in training for the lithographer Karl Ludwig Schuler. Five years later, a talented young man with the assistance of the patron, Baron von Eichtal, arrived in Munich. Here he earned his living by lithography, in 1825 became a scholarship student and entered the Munich Academy of Arts, where, as a result, he found a teacher for his soul - Josef Karl Stiler, a fashionable portrait painter and court artist King Maximilian I.
Guided by an influential mentor, in 1828 Winterhalter became a drawing teacher for the Swedish princess Sofia. Four years later, with the support of her husband, Grand Duke Leopold of Baden, Winterhalter embarked on a journey through Italy, where he joined the circle of artists led by Horace VernetDirector of the French Academy in Rome and the beloved artist of the King of France Louis-Philippe I. Franz honed his skills by painting romantic genre scenes in the spirit of Louis-Leopold Robert, and returning to Karlsruhe, he became a court painter by Leopold of Baden, creating a gallery of portraits of the Grand Duke and his wife Sophia.
After leaving his benefactor in 1836, Winterhalter went to France. Exhibiting at the Paris Salons, he conquered the audience with genre paintings in the style of Raphael, and also struck a portrait Prince of Wagram with his daughter. The royal personas turned their attention to the talented portrait painter - Winterhalter painted portraits of the Queen of Belgium Louise Orleans and her son Leopold. And, as a result, it becomes known at the French royal court, having received an audience with the mother of Louise Orleans - Queen of France Maria Amalia.
The court painter of the king of France, over the years of service, Franz created more than 30 portraits of the royal family. He was also introduced to the English royal house, for which he created more than 120 works. But critics strongly cursed Winterhalter, calling his work frivolous. The artist himself considered his work at the royal court as temporary, hoping over time to return to “free” painting, but he became an unwitting victim of his talent, demand and success. This did not prevent Winterhalter from enjoying wealth, fame and royal patronage.
During the French Revolution, Winterhalter left Paris and worked for some time in Switzerland, England, and Belgium. Returning to France, he maintained his reputation and, thanks to the protection of Empress Eugenia, again became a favorite portrait painter of the aristocracy at the court of Napoleon III. In 1852, Winterhalter arrived in Spain, where he painted a portrait of Queen Isabella II and her daughter. And his famous painting “The Empress Eugene surrounded by maid of honor” caused a stir and was presented at the Universal Exhibition in 1855.
In the 1850s and 60s, Frans Winterhalter created a large gallery of portraits of the main royal houses of Europe. In 1857, the artist painted a portrait of Empress Maria Alexandrovna, and from now on, arriving in Paris, Russian aristocrats sought to get the opportunity to visit his studio, in order to become the owner of the portrait from the most fashionable court artist. Winterhalter posed for the Yusupovs and the Bobrinsky, the Rimsky-Korsakovs and the Trubetskoy, the Shuvalovs and the Naryshkins. As Alexandre Dumas wrote in 1859, “the ladies have been waiting for their turn for months to get into the atelier of Winterhalter and Dubuffethey are recorded, they have their serial numbers and wait - one year, the other eighteen months, the third two years. The most titled have advantages. All ladies dream of having a portrait in their boudoir, written by Winterhalter or Dubuf. ” To meet the demand for copies of portraits that were fantastic success, the artist organized a workshop and hired assistants.
Franz Winterhalter lived in France for many years, but he never lost ties with his homeland and his family, which he dearly loved - the artist himself never married. Brother Franz, Herman Fidel, also became an artist. Despite the wealth and fame, Winterhalter preferred a quiet, simple life. He went on holiday to Italy, Switzerland, and in 1859 bought a villa in Baden-Baden, where he often came for treatment. Here the Franco-Prussian war found him, and Winterhalter did not return to Paris. In the last years of his life the artist painted very little. He died in the summer of 1873 in Frankfurt, catching typhus.