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Karl Ritter von Blaas

1815 Nauders – 1894 Vienna

A man of humble origins, the financial support Karl Ritter von Blaas received from a titled relative in 1832 enabled him to begin his art studies at the Academy in Venice, where he soon achieved his first successes as a historical painter. In 1837 he received a grant from the Vienna Academy to study for five years in Rome, where he made the acquaintance of Friedrich Overbeck and associated with the Nazarenes. It was during his stay in Italy that he established his reputation as an artist. In the 1840s von Blaas distinguished himself as a painter of religious subjects, advancing to become a portrait painter popular with Roman aristocrats and, in particular, noble clients from Austria-Hungary, Russia and England. For all the stylistic inspiration of the Nazarenes, the Roman costume and genre scenes that von Blaas painted in the course of the decade consistently maintained their realistic traits. Following his appointment to the Vienna Academy, von Blaas settled in August 1851 in the Austrian capital, where he began a highly acclaimed and productive career as a painter of portraits and historical scenes.