Our idea of what Mozart looked like is getting a makeover.
There are only a handful of portraits of Wolfgang, and the best-known may be one that Barbra Krafft painted a couple of decades after his death. Barbara Krafft's posthumous painting has Mozart as a kind of man-child, with taut features, bright blue eyes, and a hint of an impish grin.
The newly discovered painting is in profile, and has Mozart looking more like an actual man than a mythologized wunderkind. He has a hint of a five o'clock shadow, and a hint of a double chin. The corners of his mouth droop slightly -- this Mozart appears to be carrying the world's weight more heavily than he does in other images. Which may be a more realistic portrait, given what we know of his life.
Here are a couple of related links:
More Mozart portraits, with information about which are authentic and which are fantasy.
The official release from King's College about the new portrait.
About a year ago another portrait was discovered: a slightly pudgy portrait in a set of ill-fitting clothes. From about the time that he travelled to Prussia, leaving Constanze home with the kids. Some speculation about his seeking treatment for syphilis followed from the unhealthy look he had in the portrait. This one is years earlier and more generic.
We need more portraits of Fred Child, too. The rate is one every ten years so far, but we need at least a profile, perhaps standing in front of the picture of Mozart??
Posted by SW Paul Mack | March 20, 2008 2:15 AM