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Alice Fornasiero

The Study Stay of Christian Schröder in Italy

Christian Schröder, Emperor’s court painter and inspector of the Prague Castle Gallery, likely more famous to have been the first teacher of Petr Brandl, had the possibility to train in Italy for three years thanks to the generous support of his patron, the count Jan Jiří Jáchym Slavata. The discovery of a core of letters in the archive of the Castle of Jindřichův Hradec exchanged between the count Slavata and his brother, the Carmelite Karel Felix Slavata who lived in Rome and was Schröder’s supervisor during his Italian stay, allow us to put more light on the painter’s study stay in Italy. Apart from having access to the palaces belonging to important members of the Roman aristocracy where he had the duty to copy selected paintings for the count Slavata, Schröder attended the Roman academies where he practiced in drawing. The letters prove that Schröder was a pupil of Ciro Ferri, teacher at the Accademia Fiorentina in Rome. Thanks to Ferri, Schröder would have absorbed the Roman plasticity and chiaroscuro, elements that would became key points of his teaching when later he himself assumed the role of teacher. An additional proof of the importance of the role performed by the painter during the artistic training of Petr Brandl, who was his pupil between 1683 and 1687. Schröder not only provided Brandl free access to the Castle collections, but through his teachings the young painter would have absorbed the features of the Roman painting without crossing the borders of his homeland.

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