Bartolomeo Altomonte received his first art lessons in Vienna from his father Martino Altomonte (1657–1745). After studying in Bologna and Rome, he trained under Francesco Solimena (1657–1747) in Naples between 1721 and 1723. On his return to Austria, he settled in Linz. He was active as the so-called "painter of monasteries" in the Upper-Austrian region, inter alia, at Schlägl, St. Florian, Kremsmünster, Wilhering, and Seitenstetten. Altomonte lived in Vienna only for the brief period between 1732 and 1736. He was appointed court painter there, but few of his works from this period are documented. Not until 1770 did he become a member of the Vienna Academy. Altomonte spent his twilight years in seclusion in the monastery of St. Florian.
The four seasons paying homage to chronos
This oil sketch at the Residenzgalerie Salzburg is the study for a ceiling fresco in the ceremonial hall of the Neuwartenburg palace near Timelkam/Vöcklabruck. The palace was built between 1730–32 by the architect Anton Erhard Martinelli (ca 1684–1747) in honour of Emperor Charles VI, who visited Vöcklabruck to go hawking. Bartolomeo designed the fresco and completed it in 1737. Chronos is the Greek word for time, and this concept was fused with the Titan Cronus, whose name sounded similar. In Greek literature, we find a report in which Chronos (Cronus) is described as the happy and kindly ruler of the island of the blessed during the blissful golden age. In Roman mythology, Cronus was identified with Saturn, the god of agriculture. The four seasons, symbols of the fruitful earth and of the repetitional, cyclic nature of the world, together with the elements rain, wind and light, surround Cronus, the happy ruler, who is the focal point of the picture. He holds a circle, the sign of infinite time, harmony and perfection. With this programmatic fresco on the theme of "The Apotheosis of a Happy Reign", Johann Albert Graf Saint Julien Wallsee, who had the palace built, gave a truly magnificent welcome to Charles VI, the ruler of the Roman Empire of the German Nation.
Gabriele Groschner, Thomas Habersatter, Erika Mayr-Oehring (Ed.): Masterworks. Residenzgalerie Salzburg. Salzburg 2002, p. 100