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Sharp and angular, the ancient Saxon fortress of Königstein is dramatically silhouetted against a pale sky. It sits magisterially atop a rocky outcrop 25 miles south-east of Dresden, in present-day Germany, overlooking the Elbe valley. This monumental view of the fortress is one of five large-scale views of Königstein commissioned from Bellotto by his most important and prestigious patron, Augustus III, King of Poland and Elector of Saxony.
With its low vantage point, panoramic composition, strongly contrasted light and shadow and complex recession of space, 'The Fortress of Königstein from the North' is an outstanding example of Bellotto’s work, painted at the height of his achievement.
oil on canvas
H 132.1 x W 236.2 cm
purchased with the support of the American Friends of the National Gallery, The National Gallery Trust, the estate of Mrs Madeline Swallow, the Art Fund (with a contribution from The Wolfson Foundation), Howard and Roberta Ahmanson, The Deborah Loeb Brice Foundation, Mrs Mollie W. Vickers, The Manny and Brigitta Davidson Charitable Foundation and The Sackler Trust, with additional support from Mrs Charles Wrightsman, Jean-Luc Baroni, The Linbury Trust, The Monument Trust, Mr Fabrizio Moretti, Sir Hugh and Lady Stevenson, The John S. Cohen Foundation, Mr Jonathan Green, Christoph and Katrin Henkel, Ernst Nissl, Mr Peter Scott, CBE, QC, Mr and Mrs Ugo Pierucci, Sir Michael and Lady Heller, Mr Adrian Sassoon, Mr Mark Storey, Mr Neil Westreich, Nicholas and Judith Goodison, John and Flavia Ormond and other donors including those who wish to remain anonymous, 2017