Johann Michael RottmayrAustrian,1654-1730
Austrian painter and draughtsman. He is most notable for large-scale religious and secular decorative schemes, and his career heralded the important 18th-century German contribution to late Baroque and Rococo fresco painting. He was probably taught by his mother, who was a painter of wooden sculpture. Between 1675 and 1687-8 he was in Venice as a pupil and assistant of the Munich artist Johann Carl Loth, whose studio attracted many painters from Austria and southern Germany. It is possible that Rottmayr also visited other Italian cities, in particular Bologna and Rome. He returned to Salzburg in the late 1680s a mature painter and immediately received commissions for panels and frescoes. In 1689 he painted mythological scenes for the Karabinierisaal at the Residenz in Salzburg (in situ); in composition and style these are close to high Baroque models, particularly the work of Pietro da Cortona and Peter Paul Rubens. Such models, as well as the example of Loth, and Venetian painting, had an important influence on Rottmayr's panel paintings of this period, for example the Sacrifice of Iphigenia (c. 1691; Vienna, Belvedere) or St Agnes (1693-5) and St Sebastian (1694; both Passau, Cathedral). In these, the solidity of the figures is emphasized through the use of intense colours. For Rottmayr, however, the rational development of the figures and the composition was less important than the overall effect achieved by the use of colour. Incorrect details of anatomy and perspective found compensation in greater expressiveness, mainly conveyed by gesture and pose. Rottmayr's images are filled with plastic elements, creating a staccato effect. Several very important early commissions paved the way for Rottmayr's move to Vienna in the late 1690s.