Between 1806 and 1813, Thomas Ender, who was the twin brother of the portrait painter Johann Nepomuk Ender (1793- 1854) studied landscape painting at the Vienna Academy under Lorenz Janscha (1749- 1812) and Joseph M÷ssmer (1780- 1845). Sponsored by Prince Metternich, the State Chancellor, and Archduke John, he was first successful as a landscape painter in 1817/18, when he took part in the legendary expedition to Brazil, on which he executed over 700 drawings and watercolours. In 1829, Ender was admitted to Archduke John's group of "Kammermaler" (select circle of painters) and commissioned to produce documentary sketches of the Alps. On his annual hikes through the Alps with the archduke and on a journey to the Orient in the archduke's company in 1837, the artist created a unique collection of watercolours. Throughout his life, Ender combined his work as an artist, which between 1837 and 1848 included a professorship for landscape painting at the Vienna Academy, with intensive travelling: "I have always felt a strong urge to travel ..." English artists made siderographic prints of many of Ender's landscapes.
The Gro▀glockner Mountain with the Pasterze Glacier
It was Archduke John's objective to have a pictorial record made of "the entire country of Austria" with the emphasis on geology, mining, botany, and folklore. The underlying political purpose was to promote and strengthen national identity. It was planned that this documentation in the form of painstakingly accurate depictions should be entrusted to his "Kammermaler". The first highlight in this record came in about 1830 with Ender's depiction of the upper and lower Pasterze glacier with the "Johannisberg". The artist painted Austria's largest glacier in "icy" hues. The brilliance of the richly graded colouring in cool tones imbues the harsh world of rocks and ice with majesty and grandeur. Minuscule staffage figures and two circling birds of prey demonstrate the grandeur of the natural spectacle. The picture is an important document for glacier research. However, apart from its scientific interest and its value as a piece of pure observation, the painting conveys the impressive aesthetics of permanent ice without romantic exaggeration. The artist always created picture sequences, executing several sketches of one and the same motif from different vantage points. The painting was originally owned by Katharina Schratt, and was based on a watercolour from the stock of the Residenzgalerie, Inv. no. 96.
Gabriele Groschner, Thomas Habersatter, Erika Mayr-Oehring (Ed.): Masterworks. Residenzgalerie Salzburg. Salzburg 2002, p. 124