Joseph Karl Stieler: Ludwig van Beethoven, 1820

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) arrived in Vienna in his early twenties. A noted virtuoso pianist, he was soon introduced to aristocratic circles where he found a number of patrons. Many of his works were composed as commissions. One of Beethoven’s patrons was a Habsburg: Archduke Rudolf, Cardinal-Archishop of Olmütz and the youngest son of Leopold II, was a gifted pianist who performed in aristocratic salons. He was a pupil of Beethoven’s and dedicated several minor compositions to him. Beethoven returned the compliment by dedicating a number of works for the piano to him.