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Ludwig van Beethoven, 1801 - Stich von Karl Traugott Riedel nach einer Zeichnung von Gandolph Stainhauser von Treuberg, Leipzig, 1801

Beethoven-Haus Bonn, B 23

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After Beethoven's first successes in Vienna, German and Austrian music publishers considered it worthwile to publish a portrait of the young composer. In 1801 Johann Joseph Neidl made a copper engraving of Beethoven's face, based on an earlier drawing from Vienna portrait artist Gandolph Ernst Stainhauser. Stainhauser's drawing is now lost. Publisher Franz Anton Hoffmeister from Leipzig, who was publishing some Beethoven works at that time, ordered Karl Traugott Riedel to manufacture a second copper engraving which he published and distributed in Leipzig. Beethoven's contemporaries described the 30 year old composer as a small and inconspicuous person with an ugly face riddled with pockmarks. Carl Czerny, then a Beethoven student, even compared Beethoven to Robinson Crusoe as his unruly pitch-black hair was a mess on his head.(S.B.)

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