Otto of Wittelsbach, Prince of Bavaria and King of Greece (1815-1867) was made the first modern King of Greece in 1832 under the Convention of London, whereby Greece became a new independent kingdom under the protection of the United Kingdom, France and Russia. Peter von Hess (1792-1871) had accompanied Otto von Bayern to Greece in 1832-33 when he was enthroned and depicted his embarkation and ceremonial entry into Pauplia, at that time the capital of Greece (fig.1). The Greeks had great expectations of their new young king who was to pave the way for reconstruction of their country.
The present work was executed fifteen years into Otto's reign and depicts the king in the same German military uniform as in the Hess painting, perhaps reflecting his lack of respect for local customs and his adherance to his Catholic faith. Initially he refused to grant a constitution, but was forced to do so after a military coup which occurred as soon as German troops were withdrawn from the kingdom in 1843. For the first time he then had Greeks on his council. However, he was later deposed in 1862 after having rejected the Greeks' requests for stronger parliamentary procedures.
One of Albrecht Adam's principal patrons was Ludwig I of Bavaria, King Otto's father, at whose behest Albrecht painted the Battle of Borodino for the residence in Munich. He painted for the royal family throughout his career as well as undertaking battle scenes and horse paintings for other European royal patrons such as Emperor Franz Josef of Austria and King Maximilian II of Bavaria.
(fig. 1) Peter Von Hess, King Otto's entry into Naples, 1835, Neue Pinakothek, München/Wittelsbacher Ausgleichsfonds, München.