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Hans Makart Edit Profile

decorator , designer , painter

Hans Makart was an Austrian academic history painter, designer, and decorator.


Hans Makart was born on May 28, 1840, at Salzburg, the son of an inspector of the imperial castle.


Makart entered the Vienna Academy German art was under the rule of Cornelius's cold classicism. It was entirely intellectual and academic. Clear and precise drawing, sculpturesque modelling, and pictorial erudition were the qualities most esteemed; and it is not surprising that Makart, poor draughtsman to the very last, with a passionate and sensual love of colour, and ever impatient to escape the routine of art-school drawing, was found to be "devoid of all talent" and forced to leave the Vienna Academy.

He went to Munich, and after two years of independent study attracted the attention of Karl Theodor von Piloty, under whose guidance he made rapid and astonishing progress.


The first picture he painted under Piloty, "Lavoisier in Prison, " though timid and conventional, attracted attention by its sense of colour. In the next, "The Knight and the Water Nymphs, " he first displayed the decorative qualities to which he afterwards sacrificed everything else in his work. With the "Cupids" and "The Plague in Florence" of the next year his fame became firmly established. "Romeo and Juliet" was soon after bought by the Austrian emperor for the Vienna Museum, and Makart was invited to come to Vienna, where a large studio was placed at his disposal. In Vienna Makart became the acknowledged leader of the artistic life of the city, which in the 'seventies passed through a period of feverish activity, the chief results of which are the sumptuously decorated public buildings of the Ringstrasse. The enthusiasm of the time, the splendour of the fetes over which Makart presided, and the very obvious appeal of his huge compositions in their glowing richness of colour, in which he tried to emulate Rubens, made him appear a very giant to his contemporaries in Vienna, and indeed in all Austria and Germany. The appearance of each of his ambitious historical and allegorical paintings was hailed with enthusiasm—the "Catherina Cornaro, " "Diana's Hunt, " "The Entry of Charles V into Antwerp, " "Abundantia, " "Spring, " "Summer, " "The Death of Cleopatra" and the "Five Senses. " He reached the zenith of his fame when, in 1879, he designed, single-handed, the costumes, scenic setting, and triumphal cars of the grand pageant with 452 which the citizens of Vienna celebrated the silver wedding of their rulers. Some 15, 000 people participated in the pageant, all dressed in the costumes of the Rubens and Rembrandt period.

Hans Makart died on October 3, 1884, in Vienna.


  • The painter and designer, Hans Makart became celebrated for his richly colored historical and legendary themed paintings.


John Makart

Mary Catherine Rüssemayr