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 Balthasar Augustin Albrecht



Albrecht Balthasar Augustin

(b Berg, nr Starnberg, Bavaria, 3 Jan 1687; d Munich, 15 Aug 1765). German painter and administrator. He was the son of Augustin Albrecht, a carpenter, and he was probably taught in Munich by his uncle, the painter Benedikt Albrecht (d 1730), before he went to Italy, where he is thought to have stayed in Rome and Venice. Albrecht returned to Munich in 1719 and executed his first works (all 1723–4) for the former Hofmarkkirche (now Katholische Pfarrkirche; in situ) in Schönbrunn, near Dachau. These were a ceiling fresco, Celebration of the Cross, and three altar panels, Mourning Angel (high altar), Martyrdom of St Catherine (left altar) and St Anne (right altar). He also painted two altar panels, St John of Nepomuk and St Leonard (both 1724–5; untraced), for the Katholische Pfarrkirche Mariahilf in der Au in Munich. Unlike Cosmas Damian Asam, Matthäus Günther and Johann Baptist Bergmüller, he was influenced by 16th-century Venetian and Roman models, and both in these works and in later ones he continued to look to the past for inspiration. Between 1727 and 1732 he was nominated court painter to the Elector Charles of Bavaria (reg 1726–45), although he had only a small workshop and few apprentices, the best-known being Franz Ignaz Öfele (1721–97). In 1738 Albrecht painted one of his principal works, the Assumption of the Virgin for the Augustiner-Chorherrenstift in Diessen (in situ). This was a kind of ‘curtain’ for the theatrum sacrum and seems to be influenced by the stage-altar (1719–22) of the same subject by Egid Quirin Asam in the Klosterkirche Mariae Himmelfahrt in Rohr. In 1746 Albrecht was put in charge of gallery inspection and restoration for the Bavarian castles and drew up inventories of the paintings. As a result of these activities he produced few works of his own between 1746 and 1759, one being the important Assumption of the Virgin (1755–6; in situ) for the Klosterkirche SS Dionys und Juliana in Schäftlarn, again influenced by 16th-century Italian art. Albrecht’s religious paintings often have a dramatic diagonal composition, and they are far removed from any feeling of playful Rococo brilliance. His few secular pieces (e.g. Children Playing Dice, 1731–2; Munich, Alte Pin.) show a link with French academic painting, and the few surviving drawings relate mainly to preliminary work for his altar panels. His stairwell fresco of 1724–5 at Schloss Dachau has been destroyed, as have his frescoes of 1732–4 in the chapel and on the ceiling of the Green Gallery at the Residenz in Munich; the Miracle frescoes in the Pfarr-und Wallfahrtskirche Mariae Himmelfahrt in Aufkirchen were painted over in 1900.


Marienmünster Dießen, (versenkbares) Hochaltarblatt: Himmelfahrt Mariens



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