Detail from Der reisende Virtuos und mein Pudel Fulcan (The traveling virtuoso and my poodle, Vulcan), probably by Joseph Bergler, the younger, 1807. Dayton C. Miller Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress.
A young man stands in a kitchen and plays an unusual instrument with a large flared bell, possibly an instrument of the recorder type. The dog, Vulcan, stands before the musician, his nose nearly touching the bell of the instrument. The young man faces left and wears a fur-trimmed hat and a long coat over trousers and boots. Chickens are housed in a pen on the tiled kitchen floor in the center background and peck at their food. A pigeon at the lower right pecks at the boots of the musician. Cooking implements are on a shelf at the upper left and earthenware vessels sit atop the chicken coop. In a shallow arched area at the right, there is a dish cloth hanging from a peg on the wall, and a large shallow bowl and a broom are on the floor at the lower right.
Nicholas S. Lander describes the instrument thus: "[He]... plays a tenor-sized recorder with a fontanelle and an absurdly large bell.... The recorder seems to presage the Trichterflöten or 'bell recorders' made by the firm Adler-Heinrich until recently." Maurice Byrne comments that the instrument appears to be "a fanciful blend of a shawm with a recorder mouthpiece."
About the Artist
Joseph Bergler, the younger, history painter and etcher, 1753-1829
Joseph Bergler, the younger, was an Austrian artist born in Salzburg in 1753 and who died in Prague in 1829. He was the son of Joseph Bergler, the elder (1718-1788), a sculptor and painter. He made a trip to Italy, under the protection of the prince bishop of Passau, to study art from 1776-1786, working mostly in Milan and Rome. He copied works by Raphael in the Vatican and the frescoes of Domenichino. In 1786, he returned to Passau where he was the painter to the new cardinal, the Count of Arensperg, until 1800. In that year he was named master of the new Academy in Prague where he soon became the director, and taught many students. He did a suite of engravings of one hundred pieces, but the subject matter is not given in Bénézit.
- See Nicholas S. Lander, Recorder Iconography, under Josef (Joseph) Bergler the younger. [back to article]
- Courtesy of Maurice Byrne, via Robert Bigio, London, 5 July 2007. [back to article]
- See Bénézit for Bergler's biography and images of Bergler's monograms, one of which is dated 1807. Additional biographical information is available in an article by Roman Prahl, "Josef Bergler, the younger," in the Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online (subscription only). [back to article]