Hans Makart, 'The Modern Rubens' was an Austrian allegorical painter and designer 1840-1884. He studied at the Academy in Vienna and won fame as the 'Prince of Taste', even governing ladies' fashion. One of Makart's greatest achievements was staging the vast costumed parades held to celebrate the Silver Wedding Anniversary of Franz Joseph and Empress Elizabeth, 1879. See an anonymous sale, Christie's, New York, 20 April 2006, lot 453, for a massive Vienna style charger painted by H. Stadler.
The subject of the present vase is based on the life of Catharina Cornaro, (1454 - 1510), Queen of Cyprus from 1474 to 1489. The work was likely to have been inspired by the tragic lyric opera commissioned by Bartolomeo Merelli, impresario of the Kaertnerthortheater in Vienna and composed by Geatano Donizetti in 1844. In 1475, Catharina Cornaro, Queen of Cyprus, 'accepted' Venetian protection against the 'Turkish threat', creating a historic alliance which ultimately gave Venice control over Cyprus.