The Cult of Mozart
While Leopold exploited the market value of the Wunderkind, the twentieth-century veneration of Mozart has strangely returned to exactly this childhood image. In the guise of a non-descript face, a tabula rasa of innocence, the otherworldly quality of the childhood genius finds its visual representation. Personality and character as yet unformed, Mozart the child is commodified as Mozart the icon of natural and unquestioned excellence. Ever since Constanze began to transfigure the image of her husband by wiping the worldly dust off his face, Mozart’s name and image have become markers of quality.
The Image transcends Mozart’s music as well as his person. It is the obverse of the musicological coin, the by-product of fascination with a cultural hero created by a posterity as much in need of hermeneutic tools as of idols. Glorification and interpretation coincide in a concept of Bildung that hovers between critique and veneration. It is no coincidence that the "Mozart-Haus Handels- und Versandgesellschaft," producer and distributor of the Mozart-Kugel is but another vessel in the home port of Mozart research, cultivation and veneration: the "Internationale Stiftung Mozarteum".
© 2002 Division of Rare & Manuscript