"Portrait of the future Prince Johann I of Liechtenstein", 1776
© LIECHTENSTEIN. The Princely Collections, Vaduz-Vienna
The painting is one of a series of eight family portraits dating from the year 1776. Until 1944 this was integrated in wall panelling at Eisgrub Castle. The young Prince is seated amidst a colonnade, wearing a pastel-coloured silk suit with cape and full-bottomed wig. He is busy sketching a bust of a woman that stands before him on the table. He holds a pencil in his hand. A knife for sharpening pencils lies among the drawing utensils. He presents himself to the viewer in an upright pose, without concentrating on his work. Prince Johann I withdrew from active service in 1810 and, as a keen supporter of art and architecture, dedicated himself to the expansion and renovation of his residences. He concentrated on remodelling the Baroque gardens of the Garden Palace in the Rossau in Vienna, and of the Moravian castles Eisgrub and Feldsberg into landscaped gardens. To this day, these gardens are amongst the most famous of their kind.