Joseph Kiss Franz Xaver Messerschmidt


Franz Xaver Messerschmidt Wiesensteig, 1736 – Pozsony [Bratislava], 1783

Date: 1780–1783
Medium: alabaster
Dimensions: diameter: 13 cm with frame: 24 × 17.7 × 4.5 cm
Type: plaquette
Inventory number: 8528
Collection: Sculpture

Joseph Kiss (1748−1813) studied at the Academy of Military Engineering, Vienna. At the beginning of his career he was responsible for river regulation on a section of the Danube at Bratislava (now Slovakia). He later became official engineer at Zombor in Bácska County (Sombor, now Serbia) where the Francis Channel was initially planned by him. This channel linked the River Danube with the River Tisza; it was an outstanding achievement of engineering. Joseph Kiss, a Hungarian intellectual and member of the Josephinist circle of reformers, met Messerschmidt during his stay in Bratislava. It seems the two men became close friends: all the seven portrait medallions now preserved in the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest, came from Kiss’s estate.

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