Queen of the Night

Object Details


Queen of the Night


Moritz von Schwind (Austrian, 1804 - 1871)




about 1864 - 1867


Watercolor over graphite


41 x 31.1 cm (16 1/8 x 12 1/4 in.)

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Deeply affected by his friendship with the composer Franz Schubert, Moritz von Schwind developed a passion for music. He long dreamed of painting a monumental cycle of Mozart's opera The Magic Flute(1791).

In 1863 he was finally commissioned to paint frescoes of that subject for the newly built Vienna Opera House. Schwind created a striking vision of the mysterious Queen of the Night, whose commanding appearance in Act 1, backlit by the giant moon, takes on cosmic dimensions. This drawing embodies the confluence of art and music characteristic of German Romanticism.

Spirit of an Age: Drawings from the Germanic World, 1770-1900 (March 29 to June 19, 2011)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 29 to June 19, 2011