Allegory of Dance Art

Franz Matsch, Vienna, 1885, glue tempera
The Croatian National Theatre Ivan pl. Zajc, Rijeka (vault)

The title of the painting refers to the central representation of a group of dancers shown in the background. Five female figures formed a circle with dance movements, surrounded by a garland of white flowers. Set in an ancient ambience, behind which the natural environment can be seen, they are the main protagonists of the scene observed by only two observers. It can be assumed that this is an important couple, especially the man who, as if fascinated, does not take his eyes off the dancers to whom he intends to give a flower wreath that he is holding in his hands. The dancers differ in their individualized facial features, which the painter idealizes as in the case of the other female characters in the remaining two paintings. This is also something that indicates the difference between Matsch and Gustav Klimt who did not give way to routine solutions. In Allegory of Opera, he chose a scene with accentuated drama dominated by Cleopatra’s penetrating gaze.