Matthias Steinl (1643/44 - 1727)
Matthias Steinl, Maria Immaculata, Vienna, 1688
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1643/44 - 1727
Nothing is known about Steinl’s training as a sculptor. The son of a cabinet-maker, he probably learned the basics of woodworking in his father’s workshop. His first documented work, executed in 1676, was the decoration of the church of the Cistercian monastery at Leubus (Lubianz) in Silesia, where he settled in 1677, buying a house there. Around 1681/82 he left Leubus and moved to Breslau (Wrocław), but there is no information whatsoever as to the work he carried out there. In 1688 he moved to Vienna. Possibly it was in connection with his appointment in Vienna that he exectued the model for the Maria Immaculata so as to give the emperor an impressive demonstration of his ability. It was from Emperor Leopold I, the first of his three imperial patrons, that he obtained the post of imperial ivory carver, which he held until his death. In 1693 he executed the superb equestrian statuettes of Leopold I and his successor, Joseph I. In his later years he was required to produce fewer works in ivory and more large-scale works.
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