9542

CARVED OAK FIGURES OF KURFURST FERDINAND MARIA AND MAXIMILIAN III JOSEPH

Munich. Circa 1780-90

Measurements

Figure 1:
Width: 25 1/4" (64cm)
Depth: 21" (53cm)
Height: 66 1/4" (168cm)
Figure 2:
Width: 22 1/2" (57cm)
Depth: 22 1/2" (57cm)
Height: 66 1/4" (168cm)

Research

Of oak. Each carved figure on a shallow oval plinth, the figure depicting Kurfürst Ferdinand Maria dressed in the ermine trimmed coat of an elector of the Holy Roman Empire, a bag of coins at his feet, the figure depicting Kurfürst Maximilian III Joseph dressed in princely armour with musical pipes at his feet.

The figures in this remarkable pair represent two notable members of the ancient Bavarian ducal line of Wittelsbach, Kurfürst Ferdinand Maria (1651 – 1679) and Kurfürst Maximilian III Joseph (1745 – 1777).

Ferdinand Maria was the son of the first Bavarian Prince-Elector, Maximilian I. Under his rule the power of the Wittelsbachs was strengthened via closer political involvement with France, and French splendour brought to the Bavarian court.1 Ferdinand Maria was also the founder of the magnificent Nyphemburg Palace in Munich, built in gratitude to his wife, Henriette Adelaide, who after ten years of marriage bore them their first son in 1662.2

Maximilian III Joseph was the son of Kurfürst Karl Albrecht and Princess Maria Amelia of Austria. The last Prince-Elector of Bavaria, he was a committed enlightenment ruler, ending conflict with Austria by signing the Treaty of Füssen in 1745 and establishing an education system for his subjects.3

He was also an enthusiastic supporter of the arts, especially music, and through his passion he added to the splendours of Nymphenburg, which by the mid-eighteenth century had expanded into a palace to rival Versailles. A fresco in the Nymphenburg Palace by Johann Baptist Zimmerman celebrating the Kurfürst depicts the dawning of a cultural Golden Age. In 1750 he commissioned the magnificent Old Residence Theatre from one of the principal exponents of rococo design, François Cuvillés, where thirty years later Mozart’s opera Idomeneo had it world premier.4 His musical persuits are represented here by the musical pipes at his feet.

Full research report available on request.

Full research report available on request.