Johann Georg Bergmüller Johann Georg Bergmüller
Johann Georg BergmüllerJohann Georg Bergmüller

Johann Georg Bergmüller

1688 Türkheim - Augsburg 1762

 Oil on panel
« The four seasons »

South Germany about 1730


He was an important baroque painter and created many altarpieces, wall paintings and ceiling frescoes, mostly in sacred spaces (e.g. Ochsenhausen, Steingaden, Ummendorf, Eichstätt, and Augsburg). But a number of panel paintings also count among his oeuvre. He was proclaimed "Meister" (master craftsman) in 1713 and received the citizenship of Augsburg at the same time. One of his ten children also became a painter, Johann Baptist Konrad Bergmüller. In 1730 Johann Georg Bergmüller was made the Catholic Director of the Augsburg Academy, a post he held until his death.

The Four Seasons are a venerable, traditional subject in art, and every era has found its own interpretation. Here female allegorical sitting figures occupying themselves with the attributes of the seasons. Winter is an interior scene, the three others are set in a landscape, the figures, in all four paintings, being accompanied by an opened curtain. This nobilitating set piece goes back to Holbein's portrait of Sir Thomas More and points at the Revelation (revelatio - pulling back the curtain). The view into the world past the curtain makes all pictorial action relevant for the profane world, too.  

In spite of the fully ornate dress of the female figures complete with headgear (hat, ostrich feathers) Bergmüller still remains politely refined. None of the figures appears to be exaggerated or pompous, they all do not communicate with the viewer, their actions (gestures) remain connected to the subject, intrinsic to the painting. Thus the consequences of the seasons for humankind are emphasized, a human counterweight to the religious impulses.







Angela Boecker: Die Ölbilder, Zeichnungen und Duckgraphik des Augsburger Akademiedirektors Johann Georg Bergmüller, Diss. Univ. Innsbruck, 1966


Alois Epple und Josef Straßer: Johann Georg Bergmüller (1688-1762). Die Gemälde. Kunstverlag Josef Fink, Lindenberg i. Allg. 2012


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