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Peter
04-28-2001, 02:01 PM
Most people if they have an image of Beethoven at all, it is from his last years - the eccentric looking, totally deaf composer. As a young man Beethoven had been fashion conscious and as late as 1810 when he had hoped to marry Therese Malfatti he requested Gleichenstein to buy new clothes for him. Looking at the portraits, the unkempt long hair look doesn't seem to appear until around 1819/20. I wonder why he took such little care of his personal appearance in these last 7 seven years of his life (he didn't go as far as to stop shaving, which is perhaps surprising) - Disappointments in love, ill health and the totality of his deafness obviously played a part, but do you think this was Beethoven rejecting society as he felt it had rejected him?

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'Man know thyself'

Rod
04-28-2001, 07:33 PM
Originally posted by Peter:

Most people if they have an image of Beethoven at all, it is from his last years - the eccentric looking, totally deaf composer. As a young man Beethoven had been fashion conscious and as late as 1810 when he had hoped to marry Therese Malfatti he requested Gleichenstein to buy new clothes for him. Looking at the portraits, the unkempt long hair look doesn't seem to appear until around 1819/20. I wonder why he took such little care of his personal appearance in these last 7 seven years of his life (he didn't go as far as to stop shaving, which is perhaps surprising) - Disappointments in love, ill health and the totality of his deafness obviously played a part, but do you think this was Beethoven rejecting society as he felt it had rejected him?



I think B had no choice BUT to shave, so thick would his beard have rapidly grown to cover most of his face!

Don't know about rejecting society, atleast he wasn't being arested as a tramp in his last years! I suggest he had other things on his mind. Perhaps long hair became fashionable in those later years!

Whilst on the subject of B's appearance, after 15 years of following the master, I still have great trouble in imagining what he looked like (facially) in my mind. Even the very nice bronze bust my mother bought me for my glorious birthday earlier this month has not helped me in this respect. It's something about his eyes I think, the spark of life has not been captured.

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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

[This message has been edited by Rod (edited 04-28-2001).]

Michael
04-28-2001, 07:57 PM
Originally posted by Rod:

Whilst on the subject of B's appearance, after 15 years of following the master, I still have great trouble in imagining what he looked like (facially) in my mind.
[/B]

If B had lived another twenty years or so we would have had a photograph of him. One exists of his nephew, Karl, but he doesn't look at all like his uncle.
I often wonder what would emerge if all the existing portraits of B were fed into a computer and programmed to produce a single, definitive image. It would probably come out like a MIDI version of the music!
At least we have no shortage of paintings, unlike those of poor Mozart.

Michael

Peter
04-29-2001, 12:04 AM
Originally posted by Michael:
If B had lived another twenty years or so we would have had a photograph of him.
Michael

We might not have had to wait that long - although the daggeureotype wasn't announced until 1839, the first successful picture was produced in June/July 1827 by Niépce , using material that hardened on exposure to light. This picture required an exposure of eight hours.

On 4 January 1829 Niépce agreed to go into partnership with Louis Daguerre . Niépce died only four years later, but Daguerre continued to experiment. Soon he had discovered a way of developing photographic plates, a process which greatly reduced the exposure time from eight hours down to half an hour. He also discovered that an image could be made permanent by immersing it in salt.

It would have been nice to have had an image of Beethoven in his prime, rather than the last years - Liszt was regarded as extremely handsome in his youth, but there is little evidence of it in the photos that have come down to us which date primarily from his last years and show a rather haggard old man.

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'Man know thyself'

Claire
04-29-2001, 12:48 AM
Do any of you really care what Beethoven looked like i thought it was his music that you guys were intrested in, if he wanted to look like an unkempt dirty man then thats his buisness.

Serge
04-29-2001, 01:17 AM
I think it's interesting to talk about this; we're attempting to put a true image to the man we talk incessantly about.

In that spirit, perhaps we could try to cull all we know about Ludwig's appearance? I am to understand he was real short, about 5'4". He also had a stout figure and blazingly blue eyes...darker complexion than others... what else can be factually said or decisively rumored about him?

PDG
04-29-2001, 01:33 AM
How curious that at 5'4", he was the same height as Mozart. Haydn was shorter, still. I wonder if this was around average height for a man in those days, as 5'9" is today?

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PDG (Peter)

Peter
04-29-2001, 04:05 AM
Originally posted by Claire:
Do any of you really care what Beethoven looked like i thought it was his music that you guys were intrested in, if he wanted to look like an unkempt dirty man then thats his buisness.

Of course we're interested in his music primarily, but many including myself are also interested in Beethoven the man and having an image of him is important for this - do you mean to say that if there was a photo of Beethoven, you wouldn't be the slightest bit curious to see it? I think it is interesting from the physcological point of view as to why he lost interest in his personal appearance. I think in order to fully appreciate the music it is essential to know not only about his life but the historical and social context as well - you cannot simply consider the music in isolation.

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'Man know thyself'

Peter
04-29-2001, 04:13 AM
Originally posted by Serge:
He also had a stout figure and blazingly blue eyes...darker complexion than others... what else can be factually said or decisively rumored about him?

I think it important to distinguish the older Beethoven whose image is so familiar from the younger - into his 30's Beethoven was considered elegantly turned out and slim not stout - this is evident in the early portraits. He was considered to have strong features with a cleft chin, but his eyes seemed to attract most comment. As was common for the time, his complexion was pitted by smallpox - paintings would have deliberately disguised this. Most of the commentaries about Beethoven's appearance were made by people who met him in later life when he was in his 40's and 50's.

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'Man know thyself'

[This message has been edited by Peter (edited 04-28-2001).]

Michael
04-29-2001, 06:00 AM
Originally posted by Peter:
We might not have had to wait that long - although the daggeureotype wasn't announced until 1839, the first successful picture was produced in June/July 1827 by Niépce , using material that hardened on exposure to light. This picture required an exposure of eight hours.



Wow! I didn't realise how close we were to having a photograph. But maybe, as you suggest, it was just as well that we were spared a true-to-life picture of B in his declining years.
One of B's own favourite depictions of himself was the pencil drawing made in about 1818 by Kloeber. It appears to have been a study for a large painting of B and his nephew which is now lost. B said it was the only drawing or portrait that got his hair right, and it does show the hair as being rather fine - not the thick bushy crop shown in most paintings.
Interestingly, this drawing was used as the "logo" for the Complete Beethoven Edition and appears on every disc in the set.

Michael

Peter
04-29-2001, 02:52 PM
Originally posted by Michael:
Wow! I didn't realise how close we were to having a photograph. Michael

We were even closer than that and could have had photos of Bach,Handel etc... if only! There are two distinct scientific processes that combine to make photography possible and these processes had been known for quite some time - long before the 1830's.
It was not until the two distinct scientific processes had been put together that photography came into being.

The first of these processes was optical. The Camera Obscura (dark room) had been in existence for at least four hundred years. There is a drawing, dated 1519, of a Camera Obscura by Leonardo da Vinci; about this same period its use as an aid to drawing was being advocated.

The second process was chemical. For hundreds of years before photography was invented, people had been aware, for example, that some colours are bleached in the sun, but they had made little distinction between heat, air and light.

In the sixteen hundreds Robert Boyle, a founder of the Royal Society, had reported that silver chloride turned dark under exposure, but he appeared to believe that it was caused by exposure to the air, rather than to light.
Angelo Sala, in the early seventeenth century, noticed that powdered nitrate of silver is blackened by the sun.
In 1727 Johann Heinrich Schulze discovered that certain liquids change colour when exposed to light.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century Thomas Wedgwood was conducting experiments; he had successfully captured images, but his silhouettes could not survive, as there was no known method of making the image permanent.


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'Man know thyself'

[This message has been edited by Peter (edited 04-29-2001).]

PDG
04-29-2001, 03:51 PM
Heck, Peter, with your knowledge, you should set up a Photography Reference Site!!

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PDG (Peter)

Peter
04-29-2001, 06:15 PM
Originally posted by PDG:
Heck, Peter, with your knowledge, you should set up a Photography Reference Site!!



It's quite a hobby of mine - I had to check my facts though! I've seen this 1827 image which is a view of rooftops taken from a window on Niepce's estate in France. I have to say it is pretty unrecognisable in its original state (and is usually heavily touched up)- quite amazing to think that it was taken only 3 months after the death of Beethoven.

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'Man know thyself'

MICAULT-VERHAEGHE
05-07-2001, 11:10 PM
To all of you on this topic : we have the mask of 1812, and the death-mask. In the Memories of Beethoven by BREUNING there are a lot of indications. For the fact B. did not care anymore about his appearance the last years of his life, I remark that Joséphine von BRUNSWICK died in 1821.......
Let us just imagine how he was ! We have a photo of CHOPIN..... well it is not a nice one and it was better to stay on the portrait by DELACROIX !!!

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Prof. VERHAEGHE-MICAULT

Rod
05-08-2001, 04:12 PM
Originally posted by MICAULT-VERHAEGHE:
To all of you on this topic : we have the mask of 1812, and the death-mask. In the Memories of Beethoven by BREUNING there are a lot of indications. For the fact B. did not care anymore about his appearance the last years of his life, I remark that Joséphine von BRUNSWICK died in 1821.......
Let us just imagine how he was ! We have a photo of CHOPIN..... well it is not a nice one and it was better to stay on the portrait by DELACROIX !!!


I can recommend G Breuning's short memoirs as a boy of B's later years. he makes many detailed and sharp observations of B and those around him, and was openly opinionated about these characters.

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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

MICAULT-VERHAEGHE
05-09-2001, 06:43 PM
There is a good "esquisse of 1808 or 1809 to see in the book edited by the BEETHOVEN-HAUS (DER FREUNDESKREIS DER FAMILIE MALFATTI IN WIEN - Friend circle of family MALFATTI in WIEN). The drawings are fron Ludwig Ferdinand SCHNORR von CAROSFELD (very talented in protraiting). This drawing of B. is a profile and if you compare with the profile of the mask of 1812 it is exactly the same ! On this drawing the eye is very expressive. If you can't find it I can send a copy.


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Prof. VERHAEGHE-MICAULT

Rod
05-09-2001, 07:40 PM
Originally posted by MICAULT-VERHAEGHE:
There is a good "esquisse of 1808 or 1809 to see in the book edited by the BEETHOVEN-HAUS (DER FREUNDESKREIS DER FAMILIE MALFATTI IN WIEN - Friend circle of family MALFATTI in WIEN). The drawings are fron Ludwig Ferdinand SCHNORR von CAROSFELD (very talented in protraiting). This drawing of B. is a profile and if you compare with the profile of the mask of 1812 it is exactly the same ! On this drawing the eye is very expressive. If you can't find it I can send a copy.



I don't think I've seen what you describe, but if the eyes are right then that would be something - the mental image I have of the master is almost devoid of eyes based on the portraits I have seen. G Breuning reckoned the 1803 miniature that fronts this website was the best portrait. And their is another miniature of B in his twenties that has vivid eyes. The eyes are the window to this man's soul. But how to capture his most animated expression I don't know.


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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

MCS
05-09-2001, 09:55 PM
Originally posted by MICAULT-VERHAEGHE:
.......
Let us just imagine how he was ! We have a photo of CHOPIN..... well it is not a nice one and it was better to stay on the portrait by DELACROIX !!!

[/B]

Agreed! Forget the daggeureotype. What we really could have done with was a good portraitist. I believe Rembrandt or Raphael could have captured those eyes better than any of those early cameras.

Mary

MICAULT-VERHAEGHE
05-09-2001, 11:09 PM
To Rod :
The Drawing I mean (Carosfeld's one) is exactly in profile the miniature of 1803.
You have to find it but be careful :it does exist a copy from NEUMANN (1865) and a lithographie of 1871 and those did not caught the eye (only one but very very expressive...
To Mary :
For CHOPIN it is not a Daguerreotype but a real foto... anyway you are right, beeter forget it !!!

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Prof. VERHAEGHE-MICAULT

PDG
05-09-2001, 11:22 PM
Originally posted by MICAULT-VERHAEGHE:
To Rod :
The Drawing I mean (Carosfeld's one) is exactly in profile the miniature of 1803.
You have to find it but be careful :it does exist a copy from NEUMANN (1865) and a lithographie of 1871 and those did not caught the eye (only one but very very expressive...
To Mary :
For CHOPIN it is not a Daguerreotype but a real foto... anyway you are right, beeter forget it !!!


And doesn't Chopin look so terribly weak in his photo? I agree with Mary - a photo of Beethoven in declining health would be a sad sight indeed.

Neumann? Now where have I heard that name before?........hmmm.........

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PDG (Peter)

MICAULT-VERHAEGHE
05-10-2001, 02:54 AM
To PDG Peter,
I have made a mistake . The correct name is Ludwig Ferdinand Schnorr von CAROLSFELD.
Maybe you are thinking about NEUGASS (look in Bary COOPER)....
To have a better ideas of his eyes, we have just to listen his music. In french we say "les yeux sontle miroir de l'esprit" (Eyes are the mirror of the spirit...)And all B.'s soul is in his music...

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Prof. VERHAEGHE-MICAULT

MICAULT-VERHAEGHE
05-13-2001, 07:26 PM
To PDG Peter,
You can see the Carolsfeld's portrait on the site BEETHOVEN, Ludwig van - The Magnificent Master (Picture Gallery). The eye is not so lively as in my fac-similé but it gives a good idea.



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Prof. VERHAEGHE-MICAULT

PDG
05-14-2001, 06:27 AM
To Claudie,

The Neumann reference was a private joke - I'm sorry. I take your posts seriously, & won't impinge on your sincerity again. http://www.gyrix.com/~cgraye/ubb/smile.gif

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PDG (Peter)

Claudie MICAULT
05-19-2001, 08:10 PM
Don't worry, PDG, I am not a serious person ! I really like jokes... when I understand them !!!

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Claudie

Leonard
05-27-2001, 10:14 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Michael:
[B] If B had lived another twenty years or so we would have had a photograph of him. One exists of his nephew, Karl, but he doesn't look at all like his uncle.

Do you have any idea where could I find it? I am interested in seeing Karl's face. Thanks

Leonard

Michael
05-27-2001, 11:46 PM
Originally posted by Leonard:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Michael:
[B] If B had lived another twenty years or so we would have had a photograph of him. One exists of his nephew, Karl, but he doesn't look at all like his uncle.

Do you have any idea where could I find it? I am interested in seeing Karl's face. Thanks

Leonard



I found the photograph in a little book that came out in 1994, one of a series of "Compact Classics", published by Philips in association with Classic FM. They published at least four of these books, dealing with different composers, and a free CD was included. The actual publishers were "Pavilion Books Ltd, 26 Upper Ground, London SE1 9PD" but they were marketed by "Polygram Special Markets London".
Somebody else might know of another publication containing the photograph. It was taken in 1845 but Karl looks quite young in it: a skinny man with a moustache and a weak chin, in no way resembling his illustrious uncle, except maybe for the eyebrows.

Michael



[This message has been edited by Michael (edited 05-27-2001).]

Peter
05-28-2001, 05:27 PM
Originally posted by Leonard:

Do you have any idea where could I find it? I am interested in seeing Karl's face. Thanks

Leonard



Look no further - the photo is on the family tree page of this site!

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'Man know thyself'

euphony131
05-28-2001, 05:40 PM
Peter,

One thing I've heard (and just recently) is how B. always seemed to have a "grimace" on his face and never seemed to smile in any of his paintings. I actually did not notice all that much till an acquintance (not a big CM lover) pointed it out. And yes, it's true.

But there are many reasons for it. First, I think it was a cultural thing at the time to not sully the appearance of "distinguished" individual by painting them with an affected smile. Also, I believe the "stoic" look was quite sought after by many then, no? It seems logical when you think about it -- a strong person should look strong, not silly or casual. At least that was the thinking then.

And this sort of thinking did not just apply to Austria in the early 19th century, but was preserved everywhere for a long time, even after the invention of the photograph. Just look at all those old, turn-of-the century family photos -- how many are really smiling or "goofing off?" It's all very serious in tone. Heck, does one know, for example, of a photo with Abraham Lincoln smiling or aping for the camera? It really wasn't until the advent of WWII that you started to have more "casual" and "relaxed" photos, thanks mainly to battlefield photographers and magazines like Life.

PS -- Anyway, compared to some metal/rap/grunge bands, B. - even at his most unkempt - is positively immaculate. So, no, I really don't think "appearance" is really the issue here. If anything, I suppose him looking "grungy" and "filthy" is more an asset in terms of trying to appeal to the young, since that's how they identify with a rebellious and wild type of guy. If you want to know what's really harming B's image, take a look at my postings in the "beethoven music as symbolism in movies" thread.

Peter
05-28-2001, 09:28 PM
Originally posted by euphony131:
And this sort of thinking did not just apply to Austria in the early 19th century, but was preserved everywhere for a long time, even after the invention of the photograph. Just look at all those old, turn-of-the century family photos -- how many are really smiling or "goofing off?" It's all very serious in tone. Heck, does one know, for example, of a photo with Abraham Lincoln smiling or aping for the camera? It really wasn't until the advent of WWII that you started to have more "casual" and "relaxed" photos, thanks mainly to battlefield photographers and magazines like Life.



Portrait paintings like everything else are subject to the fashion of the day - In the 16th century you won't find any eyebrows. and you're comment about photos is also true - I suspect one reason for people not smiling in 19th century photos is the time required for exposure - difficult to hold a smile for 15 mins! - the non smile is fashionable today with models who obviously think looking mean is sexy!

B's potraits tend to get sterner as he got older - In the Horneman miniature of 1803, I think B almost manages a smile! http://www.gyrix.com/~cgraye/ubb/smile.gif

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'Man know thyself'

Michael
05-29-2001, 12:28 AM
Originally posted by Peter:
Look no further - the photo is on the family tree page of this site!



Like somebody else just mentioned, I am inclined to go straight to the bulletin board and miss the home page! I have found a lot more items on it since I last looked. Well done!

Michael

Leonard
05-29-2001, 01:05 AM
Originally posted by Peter:
Look no further - the photo is on the family tree page of this site!


Ah Ah, I did not visited your site since some time. You have changed many things! Thank you!

leonard

Claudie MICAULT
05-29-2001, 11:26 PM
P. 44 from Breuning's memories : he correct many things about what was told about B.'s physical appearance. He does insist on the smile on his face, as a lot of people who knew B. did too... There is no portrait with a smile really designed in the history, except the JOCONDE... and it is a strange smile...

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Claudie