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Martin Georg Kovachich Franz Xaver Messerschmidt


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

Culture Austrian
Date 1782
Object type sculpture
Medium, technique tin

44 × 27 × 26 cm
with base: 65 × 27 × 26 cm

Inventory number 8336
Collection Sculpture
On view Museum of Fine Arts, Second Floor, European Sculpture 1350-1800, Gallery 3

George Martin Kovachich (1743−1821) was a wellknown Hungarian legal historian during the Enlightenment. He was also curator of the university library in Buda and the first collector of the documents of Hungarian legal history. On a visit to Bratislava, he commissioned the famous Austrian sculptor Messerschmidt to make a portrait of him. The portrait bust shows him wearing a contemporary wig and dressed in Hungarian noble attire, with a fur-trimmed coat and high-necked
undergarment with large buttons. The portrait is one of the most excellent neoclassical works from the period. Kovachich seems to have been delighted
with the work, as he sent expensive red wine and Spanish tobacco to the sculptor.


Balogh, Jolán, Katalog der ausländischen Bildwerke des Museums der bildenden Künste in Budapest, IV – XVIII. Jahrhundert: 1. Textband Bd. 1, Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, 1975, p. 255., no. 388.

This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.

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