Portrait of Lola Montez

Portrait of Lola Montez
Portrait of Lola Montez
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The German painter Joseph Karl Stieler (1781 – 1858) was one of the best portrait painters of the first half of the 19th century in Central Europe. In fact, characters such as Emperor Francis I posed for him and, above all, he made one of the most famous effigies of the composer Ludwig van Beethoven. And a few years later he went on to become court painter to one of the most powerful courts inGermany, that ofBavaria.

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Portrait of Lola Montez

There he was going to receive a very curious commission fromLuis I. Make dozens of portraits for theGallery of Beautythat the monarch wanted to have in his summer residence: Nymphenburg Palace, outsideMunich.

In total, this gallery is made up of 36 portraits that he made between 1827 and 1850. Authentic beauties of the time are painted there, obviously following the criteria of the monarch. And regardless of social classes. In fact there are many nobles and aristocrats, but there are also other women who were commoners. Undoubtedly, all of them were beautiful women, and some of them also had another indisputable merit to appear in that gallery, and that is that they were lovers of the king.

But among all those women, there is one that stood out: Lola Montez, whose portrait was made by Stieler around 1847. So that woman he had tremendous power at the Bavarian court.His relationship with Luis I not only allowed him to maintain a very high standard of living, but he also tried to interfere in government affairs and did not hesitate to treat many important figures with contempt, thus abusing the protection of the king.

However, there were many years between Lola Montez and Luis I. He was already 60 years old, while she was in her twenties, and of course she had other younger lovers at the same time. However, the king was completely in love with that woman who pretended to be a Spanish dancer, when in fact she was a girl of Irish origin, who by then had already traveled halfway around the world since her childhood in India, until his years of education in Great Britain or his journey through cities like Paris where he had had lovers as famous as the musicianFranz Listz or the writer Alexandre Dumas.

In short, that relationship was doomed to a bad ending. In fact, the false dancer pulled the strings so tight, trying to participate in the government, receiving an earldom, trying to become queen and getting rich, that she provoked an uprising by the people. It was the Revolution of 1848 that caused the abdication of Ludwig I of Bavaria, which is why Lola Montez had to flee, and of course it was the end of that relationship. Although this character still had many adventures to live, both in Europe and inUnited States, where she emigrated over the years and where she passed away as ahomeless in New York.

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