Friday, July 07, 2006

Only Known Photo of Mozart's Wife Found


More than 160 years ago, in 1840, a photograph of a family was taken in the Bavarian town of Altoetting. Seated at the left of the photograph is a 78 year old woman. This is the only known photograph in existence of the woman and is thought to be the only time in her life she was ever photographed. She died in 1842.

The woman in the photograph is Costanze Weber, the wife of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the composer. Mozart died at the age of 36 in 1791, when Constanze was 29. She later married a Danish diplomat.

The print, a daguerreotype, is one of the earliest examples of photography in Bavaria. It was found in the town archives. It was taken at the home of the Swiss composer Max Keller, whom Constanze used to visit regularly.

The daguerreotype shows Constanze at front left, next to Max Keller. His wife Josefa is on the right. Behind them are (from the right): their daughters Josefa and Luise, Max Keller's brother-in-law Philipp Lattner and the family's cook. They are outside the Keller family's home.

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