Verification: 30793b9ef56f65e0



Maastricht 1750 – 1812 Heidelberg


Oil on canvas
70 x 52 cm / 27.6 x 20.5 inches, without frame

Belgium, private collection

There are artists, when looking at whom the viewer involuntarily has an established association. One such trigger for me is the beautiful German portrait painter Johann Friedrich August Tischbein. When I see his portraits I think of Friedrich Schiller. This does not mean that Tischbein's portraits are of Schiller's characters, but rather of people who lived in the atmosphere of his philosophy.
The complex, contradictory spirit of the German Enlightenment evolves in Schiller's work from the contemplative ideas of Jean-Jacques Rousseau to early Romanticism. It is this transition, complex in its genesis and coloured by features of sentimentalism, that meets us in Tischbein's portraits.
Johannes Tischbein himself was born into a large family of painters, which largely determines his artistic language. First of all this explains the fact of his early artistic formation, already at the age of 20 Tischbein was a very established painter. At the age of 22 he left for France, where he spent 5 fruitful years. Remarkably, the innovative side of the French painting Tischbein met later - in 1778 he met Jacques Louis David in Italy, and acquaintance with his art strongly influenced Tischbein.
Returning to Germany, Tischbein worked first in Bad Arolsen, then in Dessau, Berlin and Dresden. An interesting fact in Tischbein's biography is his trip to St. Petersburg in 1806-8. The fact is that his brother, the architect Ludwig-Philippe Tischbein, died in Petersburg in 1806 and Johann-Friedrich went to Russia to receive his inheritance. The trip brought the artist not only the expected inheritance, but also numerous new commissions from the Russian aristocracy.
The date of this portrait varies from 1805 to 809. By this time the painter's painting technique had become denser, and the colour combinations thinner and more delicate. Also an indirect indication of the date of the portrait is the hairstyle of the model, à la Queen Louise of Prussia. In Berlin, such a hairstyle was popular since 1805, and in Russia the fashion for it came after the Peace of Tilsit in 1807. But in one thing Tischbein remains a consummate master - his subtle sentimental-romantic interpretation of the image. The restrained sadness, the slight half-smile give the image a touch of poetic melancholy, a quality without which it is impossible to imagine early 19th-century German culture.
Bratislava, 2023

Base: Canvas

Epoque: XIX century

Epoque: XVIII century

Genre: Portrait

School: German

Technic: Oil

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