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Bavarian City Views by Lebschée after Donauer

This collection is part of the Collection of Graphic Art of the Historischer Verein von Oberbayern (Historical Association of Upper Bavraria).

In 1866, the Historischer Verein von Oberbayern commissioned the Munich artist Carl August Lebschée (1800–1877) to depict 36 out of 102 views of Bavarian cities, market towns and castles in the Antiquarium of the Munich Residenz (Residence) in watercolour technique. The Antiquarium had been built in around 1570 and was turned in 1586 into a festival hall. Peter Candid, Antonio Maria Viviano, Antonio Ponzano and Hans Donauer the Elder (c.1521–1596) decorated it with paintings. The latter had executed in the lunettes and window jambs the above-mentioned views of cities and market towns. They are considered the earliest depictions of Bavarian locations created in accordance with real-life observation.

Sitting on scaffolding constructed on purpose in the then very neglected Antiquarium, Lebschée completed preliminary sketches that he later turned into larger-format water-colours. In 1871, the by now 71 year-old artist ended the onerous work for reasons of health. During the course of four years, 96 sheets had been created.

Lebschée considered his depictions to be "copies". In reality though, he only adopted the compositional scheme as well as the most important decorative elements of his models and otherwise designed them from scratch. He changed the format – while in the case of the originals 68 motifs are in portrait format, in the case of Lebschée's sheets this is only true for 17 – and he did not work in the original range of colours. Since he also relied on older illustrations by Matthias Merian and Michael Wening, he thought he might be able to "improve" the content of the cityscapes.

Since most of the original frescoes by Donauer were destroyed in WWII, the greatest part of the murals today present in the Antiquarium are reconstructions based on period photos. Lebschée's watercolours which had instead been created based immediately on the original images, have their own, particular importance. Despite their interpretational value, the sheets still breath the spirit of Donauer and still reproduce his singular c.1600 cycle of cityscapes of Bavarian cities, market towns and castles almost in its entirely.

The other part collections of the "Collection of Graphic Art of the Historischer Verein von Oberbayern" available in bavarikon