Ossian and Malvine, so-called Homer of the North and the mother of Romanticism, the Bard and his Muse, this is two characters from the legendary cycle of epic poems "Ossian", published by the Scottish poet James Macpherson in 1760. Ossian, folk singer (bard), narrator and purported author of a cycle of epic poems and Malvina, the widow of his son Oscar, she represented as muse, listener and comparion of Ossian. In this poem Macpherson claimed to have collected word-of-mouth material in the Scots Gaelic said to be from ancient sources, and that the work was his translation of that material. Ossian is based on Oisín, son of Finn or Fionn mac Cumhaill, anglicised to Finn McCool, a character from Irish mythology.
These same characters are found also in the Goethe's famous poem "The Sorrows of a Young Werther"
The author of our early 19th century (dated 1810) painting is Johann Peter Krafft (Hanau 1780 - 1856 Vienna), one of the most important genre, portrait and historical painters of German Romanticism. This allegorical work was purchased in Viennese auctionshouse Dorotheum on important auction "Paintings of 19th century" (expertise by Mrs. Dr.Wolf) on 15.02.2011 and was exhibited as "our" work at the memory exhibiton " Johann Peter Krafft. Maler eines neuen Österreich" in the Viennese Belvedere Museum on 25.02-5.06.2017 (see our additional photos from the exhibition cataloque).
Additionally we have determined the interesting fact that our painting is a much older author's version of the painting "Ossian and Malvina on the seabank", painted by Krafft 11 years later, situated in the collection of Prince Liechtenstein and described under No. 10 in the important monography "Malerwerke des 19.Jahrhunderts" by Fr.von Boetticher, leipzig, 1892. Also see for comparison: Marianne Frodl-Schneemann "Johann Peter Krafft", Herold publisher, Vienna 1984, Werkverzeichnis (List of paintings by J.P.Krafft) , No. 118, 119 and 120.
Johann Peter Krafft has begun at the age of ten his art studies at the Hanau Academy. In 1799, he moved to Vienna and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts for three years under the tutelage of Heinrich Füger. From 1802 to 1808, he studied in Paris with Jacques-Louis David and François Gérard, and then in Rome. On his return to Vienna, he became a successful professional painter, producing numerous portraits, historical and battle scenes.In 1828, Krafft became director of the Imperial and Royal Painting Gallery in Belvedere Palace. Later influenced the development of the genre painting of the Biedermeier, eg by his monumental painting The parting of the territorial army man (1813) and The Return of the territorial army man (1820). During and immediately after the time of the Napoleonic Wars created Krafft distinguished history patriotic paintings and patriotic content for Austria and the Imperial Family. These include the above two paintings with the militia man, but also the two counterparts Archduke Karl us stone Staff at the Battle of Aspern-Essling (1819) and The Siege message of Prince Karl Philipp zu Schwarzenberg to the allied sovereigns Emperor Francis I of Austria, Tsar Alexander I and King Frederick William III. by Prussia in the Battle of Leipzig (1817). These paintings were commissioned for the trophy room of the old military invalids house in Vienna highway.In another monumental painting tells Krafft a legend episode from the Napoleonic wars, namely "Archduke Charles with the flag of the regiment in the Battle of Aspern Zach". As the center of the Austrian army on the morning of 22 May 1809 came to falter and Napoleon ordered the breakthrough by use of the French cavalry, to Charles the flag of the 1st Battalion K.K. Line Infantry Regiment No. 15 "Baron von Zach" have taken and be blown in the direction of the enemy. This had managed to close the ranks of densely pressed Austrian troops and the center of his army back to lead the front, which would have led to victory. Krafft deliberately chooses those pose, Jacques-Louis David´s 1801 application for an end to his equestrian portrait of Napoleon crossing the Alps, the Great St. Bernard. The painting has been the model for the equestrian statue at Heldenplatz in Vienna by Anton Dominik Fernkorn. Johann Peter Krafft, thus creating, as he himself noted, his first modern event image.Krafft was eventually also worked as a conservator at the Schönbrunn Palace and the Jesuit Church in Vienna. He significantly influenced the work by Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller.
Provenance: sale of Dorotheum auction house on 15.02.2011.
Literature: Exhibition catalogue "Johann Peter Krafft. Maler eines neuen Österreich", Viennese Belvedere, 25.02 -5.06.2017; Marianne Frodl-Schneemann: Johann Peter Krafft 1780-1856. Monography (in German), Vienna, Herold Edition, 1984; Artist´s Lexicons by Thieme/Becker (Leipzig, 1999) and Prof. H.Fuchs (Vienna, 1975).
Inscription: signed and dated in German lower right : "P.J.Krafft pinxit (ligated) , Wien 1810".
Technique: oil on canvas. Luxuriousy original classicism period gold-plated frame.
Measurements: unframed h 26 1/4" x w 21" ( 66,5 x 53,5 cm), framed w 32 1/4" x h 26 3/4" (82 x 68 cm)
Condition: in good condition, canvas was professional relined.