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Major public acquisition: Portrait of Mozart with orchestra

mozart portrait

The boy at the keyboard in this pen-and-ink drawing is presumed to be the young Mozart.

The work has long been attributed to the German-British painter Johan Zoffany (1733-1810). Recent research, however, rules him out and the authorship is presently unknown. In private hands for two centuries, the drawing has been acquired by the Salzburg Mozarteum Foundation at an auction in the Librairie Henri Godts in Brussels. It goes on display this week at the Mozart Resident in Salzburg until the end of October.


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  1. Dexter Edge says:

    Although there is no evidence that the boy at the keyboard is Mozart.

    (No, the music on the stands is not by Mozart, as Rampe has claimed, and the only other argument supporting the identification was the attribution to Zoffany….and he almost certainly has nothing to do with this drawing.)

  2. I don’t see the person at the keyboard (the one whose legs can be seen extending below the harpsichord) as a “boy.” A young man perhaps, but not a pre-adolescent as is perhaps the short male standing to the left of the harpsichord (boy soprano? page turner? would Mozart ever need a page turner?).

    BTW: The shapes of the string bows and the form of the french horn (and how it is being held — no fist in the bell)
    indicate an ensemble from anywhere between the High Baroque to the Mid/Late-Classical periods, as does the layout of players (winds on left, continuo instruments in the middle, strings on right).

  3. Rosalind says:

    I wonder how much they paid for it?

  4. Angela Cockburn says:

    Note the woman – or person wearing a wig in a woman’s style – to the right among the strings.

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