Emperor Joseph II with Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo of Tuscany

Pompeo Batoni1769

Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien

Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien
Vienna, Austria

Joseph II (1741–1790, emperor from 1765) arrived in Rome on 15 March 1769. Together with his younger brother Pietro Leopoldo (1747–1792, grand duke of Tuscany from 1765, emperor as Leopold II from 1790) he visited the city’s sights during his two-week stay and was a guest at many official receptions – a schedule that was typical of a grand tour. Pompeo Batoni had an extremely high reputation as a portraitist among aristocratic visitors to Rome. He and Anton Raphael Mengs were the most prominent Roman proponents of a new, Classicistic approach to portraiture. Among the
celebrated qualities of his painting were the fine and precise delineation he had learned while training as a goldsmith and his “ornamental elegance”. Joseph II and Pietro Leopoldo visited Batoni’s studio in via Bocca di Leone six times for morning sittings. In June of 1769, the finished and already much-admired work was presented to Pope Clement XIV before making its way to the Vienna court. The brothers are depicted in rather simple dress and a relaxed posture, their amicable relationship expressed by the gentle gesture of their clasped hands. The restrained character of the portrait is in keeping with the self-image of an enlightened monarch. One of the most important works of the French Enlightenment, Montesquieu’s De l’esprit des loix (English edition: The Spirit of Laws, 1750), is lying alongside a city map of Rome on the small table at the right. Pietro Leopoldo stands at the left, wearing the Order of the Golden Fleece, while his brother the emperor is wearing the star and cross of the Military Order of Maria Theresa and of the Royal Hungarian Order of St. Stephen. Given the history of its creation, this portrait with its Roman ambience has also preserved the two subjects for posterity as educated travellers to Italy. © Cäcilia Bischoff, Masterpieces of the Picture Gallery, Vienna 2010


  • Title: Emperor Joseph II with Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo of Tuscany
  • Creator: Pompeo Batoni
  • Creator Lifespan: 1708/1787
  • Creator Nationality: italian
  • Creator Gender: male
  • Creator Death Place: Rome
  • Creator Birth Place: Lucca
  • Date Created: 1769
  • Provenance: in the imperial gallery in 1824
  • Physical Dimensions: w1220 x h1730 cm
  • Inventory Number: GG 1628
  • Type: painting
  • External Link: http://www.khm.at/sammlungen/gemaeldegalerie/

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more

Flash this QR Code to get the app
Google apps