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Ludwig van Beethoven, 1819 - Ölgemälde von Ferdinand Schimon

Beethoven-Haus Bonn, B 1

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Ferdinand Schimon was not only a talented painter, but also a talented singer. He lived and worked in Vienna at first, and moved to Munich later on. He was working as a singer at the Munich opera from 1821 to 1840. But he did not give up painting during those years, and he participated in painting in the loggias at the Munich art gallery " Alte Pinakotek " (Old Gallery).
Schimon created a number of portraits of musicians, among them the illustrations of Louis Spohr, Carl Maria von Weber, and Ludwig van Beethoven. Today, the review of this portrait of Beethoven is rather problematic. Anton Schindler, who was one of Beethoven's closest confidants in the 1820s, said that it was him, who encouraged Beethoven to let him do this painting. Since Beethoven, at first, was not really very open to the proposal to sit for Schimon, the painting was done in the composer's apartment. Schimon is said to have painted Beethoven, while the latter was composing. But he could not complete the painting of the portrait and Beethoven invited him some time later to give him the opportunity to complete his work - in particular in the area around the eyes. The composer is said to have been "quite content " with the portrait done that way.

For the time being, it cannot be resolved in how far this story complies with historical facts. Ferdinand Schimon's name appears on various pages of Beethoven's conversation books, and his portrait of Beethoven is mentioned too, but, - as proved by the latest music research - those entries are falsified entries made by Anton Schindler. Since Schimon's painting later on was in the possession of Schindler, it can be assumed, that Schindler tried to make the portrait appear especially authentic to increase its value that way.(S.B.)

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