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Carl Russ

1779–1843, Vienna

The Viennese painter and printmaker, Carl Russ, is a fascinating, unconventional artist, whose work reveals stylistic contradictions and a tendency towards eclecticism that are typical of European art in the period around 1800. Russ studied under Christian Brand and Hubert Maurer at the Vienna Academy, where he specialised in historical genre painting. He received considerable stylistic inspiration from his acquaintance with Eberhard Wächter, who was active in Vienna from 1798 to 1808. Russ’s career took a fortunate turn with his appointment as court painter to Archduke Johann in 1810. His patron commissioned him to paint a monumental cycle of historical pictures dedicated to the Habsburg royal dynasty. Thanks to the Archduke’s protection, he was promoted to the position of senior curator at the Belvedere Gallery in 1821.