Reading boy

Johann Veit Kauperz (1741–1815)

Photo: UMJ/N. Lackner

Johann Veit Kauperz (1741–1815)
Reading boy


Red chalk drawing
Inv.-No. HZ 30

A chubby-faced boy is immersed in reading a book and has his eyes focused downwards in deep concentration. Like the previous drawing, this depiction dates back to Kauperz’ time at the Academy, since the same motif by his teacher in Vienna, Jakob Mathias Schmutzer, which was also executed in red chalk, can now be found in the Kupferstichkabinett (Graphic Collection) of the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. The view of the boy is captured from the same position of both drawers. Thus, the two drawings may not have been created at a session in front of the model; instead, Kauperz copied Schmutzer’s depiction – a quite common procedure at academies.


What strikes us is the boy’s pronouncedly cross-hatched face, while the clothes, book and hair are sketched assuredly and quickly. The type of cross-hatching used for modelling the face is typical of a trained engraver, which Kauperz already was when he entered the Vienna Academy. He had first been educated and trained by his father, the engraver Johann Michael Kaupertz (1712–1786).

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