A rare portrait of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart has been unearthed which gives a true picture of the famous composer’s looks at the height of his fame.
It shows him in 1783, aged 27, dressed in a red tunic and a white ruff, with a wig of grey hair and an elegant but slightly hooked nose. ...
The picture has been authenticated by Professor Cliff Eisen, a music scholar at King’s College London. He described it as “arguably the most important Mozart portrait to be discovered” since the composer’s death in 1791.
Prof Eisen, who is to present his findings to academics at the Royal Musical Association on Saturday, said: “It is only the fourth known authentic portrait of him from the Vienna years, the period of his greatest professional successes and greatest compositional achievements.”
Mozart moved to Vienna in 1781, aged 25, and died a decade later.
The oil, which measures 19 inches by 14 inches, was bought by an American collector in 2005 from a descendent of Johann Lorenz Hagenauer, a close friend of the composer’s father Leopold Mozart. The collector has insured it for £2 million.
It was probably painted by Joseph Hickel, a painter to the Imperial Court of Austria.
Prof Eisen said there was strong documentary evidence to suggest the subject was Mozart, including a letter he wrote to one of his patrons in September 1782 describing his desire for a “beautiful red coat” that matches the one painted.