PILOTY, Karl Theodor von
(b. 1826, München, d. 1886, Ambach bei München)
German painter. He received his first training from his father, the lithographer Ferdinand Piloty (1786-1844). In 1838 Piloty entered the Munich Akademie der Bildenden Künste and from 1840 became a pupil of Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld. Piloty had to manage the family business after his father's death in 1844, but in 1846 he returned to the Akademie as a pupil of Karl Schorn (1801-1850). His artistic development was influenced by the work of the Antwerp artist Louis Gallait, the heightened colour and multi-figure compositions in whose history paintings especially impressed him. Besides his study of Old Masters, especially Veronese and Rubens, he was influenced by French history painters like Paul Delaroche and Horace Vernet. His history painting Seni by the Body of Wallenstein (1855; Munich, Neue Pinakothek) was an enormous success, allowing him to take a leading role in the art life of Munich. In 1860 he was ennobled. In 1874, he was appointed keeper of the Munich Academy.
Among the well-known works by Piloty are the Battle of the White Mountain near Prague, Nero Dancing upon the Ruins of Rome (1861), Godfrey of Bouillon on a Pilgrimage to the Holy Land (1861), Galileo in Prison (1864) and The Death of Alexander the Great (unfinished), his last great work. He also executed a number of mural paintings for the royal palace in Munich.
Piloty was the foremost representative of the realistic school in Germany. He was a successful teacher, and among his more famous pupils were Hans Makart, Franz von Lenbach, Franz Defregger, Gabriel von Max, Georgios Jakobides and Eduard von Grützner.