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Living portraits of Christian Seybold - an artist whose biography was lost in the mists of time
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Living portraits of Christian Seybold – an artist whose biography was lost in the mists of time

Unfortunately, history has ordered that almost no information has come down to the life of some artists. But about them eloquently testify to their picturesque masterpieces, written many centuries ago. And it should be noted that they will still talk about their creators for more than one coming century. One of such miracle masters lived and worked in the first half of the 18th century. And his name is Christian Saybold.

Artist Christian Seybold (1690-1768) is an Austrian portrait painter of German descent, whose childhood and youth are practically unknown. Historians reliably state only that his father was from the German city of Oberursel, in the Prussian province …, and that Christian was one of 11 children of a large family.

The artist spent his teenage years in the city of Soden, where he supposedly received his primary art education, although according to some sources, Christian was self-taught. At the age of 20, the young man moved to Vienna and got married, but, alas, his family happiness did not work out. Two years later, the beloved wife died, and having married again, the artist buried his second wife, who died during childbirth with her child.

Christian devoted all his work to writing amazingly realistic portraits. At the age of 52, the artist was appointed court painter of King Augustus III and went to live in Dresden. Another seven years will pass, and the artist will be invited to Vienna to the post of court painter at the court of the Archduke of Austria, the Queen of Hungary and the wife of Franz I Stefan of Lorraine – Maria Theresa, who cared about the prosperity of various sciences and arts. By the way, during her reign, she established several universities and academies and laid the foundation for the formation of the common people. In the same year, Seybold was honored to become a member of the Vienna Academy of Arts.

The stunning manner of writing Christian’s naturalistic portraits was developed by the artist under the influence of the painters of that time – portrait painters Balthazar Denner and Jan Kupetsky. It was completely different from the manner in which the court artists of those times worked, clearly idealizing those who generously paid artists for their images.

One of the most impressive female portraits in the world painting of Seybold’s brush is the painting “Portrait of an Elderly Woman in a Green Scarf”. Peering into the eyes of this woman, we see how much liveliness and intelligence they have! In all likelihood, she was very beautiful, pleasant and smart in her young years.

Due to carefully prescribed small details, such as hair and wrinkles, it is believed that the artist used a magnifying glass in his work.

Today, the artist’s works are in the collections of the Louvre, the Belvedere Gallery in Vienna, the Dresden Gallery, the National Museum in Nuremberg, the Mainz State Museum, the Liechtenstein Museum of Fine Arts, as well as in the Hermitage of St. Petersburg.

And what is noteworthy, Christian Saybold’s paintings were brought to the Hermitage by a Prussian diplomat and art dealer who sold silk and porcelain, Jan Gotzkowski, who sold 317 paintings by European artists to Catherine the Great, which laid the foundation for the Hermitage collection. But, unfortunately, most of them were lost or taken out as trophies.

The amazing canvases by Frans Sneijders, a Flemish artist who managed to revive still lifes, also occupy an entire hall in the State Hermitage Museum of St. Petersburg and shock the audience.

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