The summary of the selected article appears at the bottom of the page. In order to get back to the contents of the issue this article belongs to you have to access the link from the title. In order to see all the articles of the archive which have as author/co-author one of the authors mentioned below, you have to access the link from the author's name.

    STUDIA HISTORIA - Issue no. 3 / 2003-2004  

Authors:  IULIA MESEA.
  Abstract:  A Portrait Gallery. A Brief History of the Brukenthal Family. The Brukenthal painting collection contains a very important and numerous portrait gallery of Baron Samuel von Brukenthal’ s family, the founder of the museum. It is not a gallery constituted by Samuel von Brukenthal himself, as he was the first in his family that reached an important position in the social and political life of Transylvania and of the Empire. The gallery was formed by the curators of the museum at the end of the 19th century till the beginning of the 20th century. It represents exquisite value from the documentary and artistic perspectives and offers a journey through the styles that dominated Transylvanian painting from the 18th to the 20th centuries. In presenting this gallery of portraits, the author follows the evolution of the art of portrait in Transylvania and brings biographic information about the most representative members of the family. The artistic quality of this works varies as the painters, belonging to the Transylvanian and Austrian schools, were either famous names that stood in the top of the artistic life at the Viennese Court or, on the contrary, mediocre anonymous. Baron Samuel von Brukenthal is depicted 6 times by artists from Vienna and from Transylvania. Among these, the most imposing work is that by the famous Austrian painter, Georg Weikert (1745-1799). The monumental painting (Baron Samuel von Brukenthal, oil/canvas, 228 x 179 cm, inv. no. 1247) depicts Baron Samuel von Brukenthal in the garments of Saint Stephan Order, in one of the reception rooms of his palace. The painting stresses the important social and political position of the model. Another Portrait of the Baron Samuel von Brukenthal (oil/canvas, 93 x 71 cm, inv. no. 515) has an uncertain paternity. Across time the researchers (Julius Bielz, Theodor Ionescu, Valentin Mureşan) attributed it to the Austrian Court painter Martin Meytens (1695-1770), to the Transylvanian well-known Johann Martin Stock or to an anonymous artist of the Austrian school. The new elements brought by the author of the study regarding this work are those concerning the possible date of the depiction. It is hard to believe that this portrait is only 4-5 years distance from that of Georg Weikert since in the latter the Baron looks at least 10 years older. The author suggests that the decoration of Saint Stephen Order might have been later added by another artists and the work was depicted around the 7th decade of the 18th century. The structure of the study follows the line of the descendants of the Baron Samuel von Brukenthal who inherited his fortune: Baron Johann Michael Josef von Brukenthal, Baron Franz Josef von Brukenthal, Baron Hermann von Brukenthal and their families. It is also pointed to those who contributed to the Brukenthal foundation: Baron Georg Peter Karl von Brukenthal, Baron Franz Josef von Brukenthal, Baroness Luise von Brukenthal, and Baroness Sophie von Brukenthal. From the artistic point of view it is also worth mentioning the two portraits, belonging to the Transylvanian Baroque by Johann Martin Stock: Baron Johann Michael von Brukenthal (oil/copper, 49 x 38 cm, inv. no. 1287) and his brother Georg Peter Karl von Brukenthal (oil/copper, 49 x 38 cm, inv. no. 1126). The portraits are depicted on a landscape being really innovative for the Transylvanian portraiture. Other two portraits that represent the two barons were depicted at the middle of the century in a manner typical for the Austrian academism by Franz Eybl, 1806-1880 (Portrait of Baron Johann Michael Josef von Brukenthal, oil/canvas, 100 x 78,6 cm, inv. no. 517) and Gustav Albert Schievert, 1826-1881 (The Portrait of Baron Peter Georg Karl von Brukenthal, oil/canvas, 116 x 80 cm, inv. no. 1052). Other well-known Transylvanian artists made portraits for members of the Brukenthal family, among them, the talented Theodor Benedikt Sockl (1815-1861), Robert Wellmann (1866-1935), Lajos Abrany (1849-1901). The painting by T. B. Sockl representing probably Baroness Anna von Brukenthal, born Wesselenyi (oil/canvas, 85 x 68 cm, inv. no. 2172) is illustrative for the remarkable qualities of depicting portraits of the artist, for his role of marking a new stage in the evolution of the art of this genre in Transylvania. There are two portraits that represent the last descendant of the family, Hermann von Brukenthal. One is depicted by the artist from Sibiu, Gustav Albert Schievert and the other one by the Viennese, Friedrich von Amerling (1803-1887). The latter is more interesting from an artistic point of view as the artists who, we think, knew Hermann von Brukenthal quite well, stresses the bohemian, artistic feature of his inward nature. The artist’s model is depicted in a Romantic atmosphere, looking like a poet or composer. Taking into consideration the fact that Baron Samuel von Brukenthal is the founder of one of the oldest and most important museums in our country and in this part of Europe, Brukenthal’s family portrait gallery has not only artistic and documentary but also sentimental value.  
      Back to previous page