The Fortress of Konigstein: Courtyard with the Brunnenhaus
First floor: 18th Century
133.9 x 238 cm
The Fortress of Königstein:
Courtyard with the Brunnenhaus about 1756-8
Bernardo Bellotto 1720-1780
Oil on canvas
Königstein is an ancient fortress
on a precipitous hilltop near Dresden, Germany.
The artist was commissioned to record it,
in five different views of identical size,
by Augustus III, King of Poland and Elector of Saxony.
The central building in this example is the Brunnenhaus,
which surrounds a 500 foot well sunk during the 1500s.
Bellotto was a nephew and pupil of Canaletto,
the celebrated Venetian view painter.
While Bellotto's style differs from his uncle's,
in its greater precision and cooler tones,
this painting was sold as a Canaletto
by Christie's auction house in 1778.
It was bought by the Marquess of Londonderry,
reflecting the British fashion for European views.
Königstein was used as a prisoner-of-war camp
during both World Wars.
Purchased with the assistance of the Victoria & Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund,
the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the National Art Collections Fund, the Corporate Patrons
of Manchester City Galleries, and The Friends of Manchester City Galleries 1982.712