Cover Mozart's Portrait on a French Box of Sweets

Stefaan Missinne: Mozart's Portrait on a French Box of Sweets, Wien: Hollitzer Verlag, 2021, 120 pages, 13,8 x 21,7 cm, English, Hardcover with 4-color-printing images

ISBN 978-3-99012-934-0 (hbk) € 49,00
ISBN 978-3-99012-935-7 (pdf) € 48,99

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Stefaan Missinne

Mozart's Portrait on a French Box of Sweets

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A portrait miniature of a cherubic boy with a wig was discovered in Salzburg in 2018. It is mounted on a bonbonnière made of papier-mâché and tortoiseshell. The provenance of the box of sweets is Paris. Could this be a portrait of W. A. Mozart from Versailles? The detective trail leads to Salzburg, Munich, Paris, and Vienna. Laboratory testing authenticates the painting and the box. Stefaan Missinne discovers the "smoking gun" in the silver frame. The guilloche pattern is the linking orphic attribute. Facial biometrics of the boy confirm it is a ten-year-old. Mozart was ten while in Paris in 1766. The Belgian author endorses the bonbonnière as a unique Louis XV box of sweets, suggesting that it is a tribute to W. A. Mozart as an Austrian child prodigy.

An exceptional finding in a Salzburg antique shop leads, like an international research thriller, from the Mozarteum in Salzburg to the archives of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna, from the Louvre and the Royal French Court  in Paris to the Imperial collections of the Habsburgs. A small, expensive and specially heralded box – the Mozart portrait box – portrays a unique, royally uniformed boyish Mozart as a composer, musician and prodigy. A wonderful artifact that allows us to sense Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as a young Austrian musical genius. Stefaan Missinne has made a significant discovery with international appeal and world interest.
Sir James Constable, Harvard University Fellow

Just as in Greek mythology Orpheus was able to sweep his fellow human beings away with his beguiling song, so the author, Prof. Dr. Stefaan Missinne, succeeds in this compact, scientific treatise where he documents and presents striking evidence of a portrait of the youthful Mozart from Paris, dating from 1766. In so doing, he allows the striking traces and circumstances of a small, collectible, but otherwise inconspicuous artefact to speak to us and form a significant whole that addresses us today in a most meaningful way.
Archduke Dr. Michael Salvator Habsburg Lothringen




Description of the portrait and the box

Miniature portraits of Mozart

Mozart and his stays in Paris

Primary sources on boxes in Mozart's letters

Mozart, musical instruments and notes
in miniatures and paintings

Iconographic decoration of the silver mounting
and on the outside pattern of the round box

Interlaced orphic ornaments from classical antiquity
and their appearance in late XVIII century artifacts
and frontispieces of printed music editions of
Haydn and Mozart

Allegory of music on a mechanical golden
wedding box dating from 1768

Post-mortem iconographic elements including the
reference to Mozart as the death of Orpheus

Some thoughts with regard to a potential attribution
of the artist who painted the portrait

Paediatric osteological approach





List of Pictures