Allegory of the Law and Truth of Representation

Hans Makart1881/1884

Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien

Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien
Vienna, Austria

The Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna openend to the public in 1891. Hans Makart (1840–84) had originally been commissioned to execute the painting for the ceiling as well as fanlight, spandrel, and intercolumnar areas as part of the interior decorations in the main staircase of the new built museum. The contract was signed in February 1881; in the same year an imperial delegation was able to view the artist’s initial sketches. Shortly before his death, Makart had completed the fanlight paintings depicting “classical heroes of painting” and their “favourite materials”. The powerful allegorical figure holds out in her left hand a statuette of Nike (Roman: Victoria), the goddess of victory. With her right hand she points a stylus to an as yet blank canvas that is held by a youthful genius, whilst a matching figure opposite leans upon a reflecting shield. He who is victorious is interpreted thus as he who creates a “true” likeness. For further Information on the building see: Cäcilia Bischoff, The Kunsthistorisches Museum. History, Architecture, Decoration, Vienna 2010


  • Title: Allegory of the Law and Truth of Representation
  • Creator: Hans Makart
  • Creator Lifespan: 1840/1884
  • Creator Nationality: austrian
  • Creator Gender: male
  • Creator Death Place: Vienna
  • Creator Birth Place: Salzburg
  • Date Created: 1881/1884
  • Type: Interior decoration

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