Exhibition

Martin Marquart. A Goldsmith and his Hidden Side

21 Jul 2017 – 19 Nov 2017

Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien

Vienna
Wien, Austria

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​Point of View #19 showcases the impressive portrait of Martin Marquart, a goldsmith from Augsburg, which was painted around 1560.

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 Both the front and the panel’s back - presumably on display for the very first time - now shine in new splendour following a recent restoration intervention. The back features a highly unusual composition: in the presence of a weeping Cupid a satyr presents a nude female figure with a necklace, a symbol of love for sale. We may assume that the male patron – personified by the venal and ugly satyr – has lost the joy of love, hence Cupid’s lamentations; but at least he has enough spare cash to be able to purchase sexual gratification. Marquart presumably commissioned the back when he was older and a widower, in which case the scene should be read tongue-in-cheek, with the depicted goldsmith work also cleverly referencing his profession. Thus the panel may have functioned as a kind of door (of a cupboard or a niche) in the goldsmith’s private quarters where only selected visitors had the opportunity to view its suggestive back. Traces of hinges suggest that one could close or fold it back.

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