Balthasar Denner

Last updated

Balthasar Denner self-portrait, 1719 Balthasar Denner self-portrait 1719.jpg
Balthasar Denner self-portrait, 1719
The old man with an hourglass and a skull, painted in Rembrandt's style (National Museum in Warsaw). Denner Old man with an hourglass.jpg
The old man with an hourglass and a skull, painted in Rembrandt's style (National Museum in Warsaw).
George Frideric Handel in 1727 attributed to Denner. George Frideric Handel by Balthasar Denner.jpg
George Frideric Handel in 1727 attributed to Denner.

Balthasar Denner (15 November 1685 – 14 April 1749) was a German painter, highly regarded as a portraitist. [2] He painted mostly half-length and head-and-shoulders portraits and a few group portraits of families in interiors. [3] Usually Denner concentrated on the face; clothes and paraphernalia were done by other painters or later his daughter. [4] His chief peculiarity consisted in the fineness of his mechanical finish, which extended to depicting even the almost invisible furze of hair growing on smooth skin. He is particularly noted for his heads of old men and women. [5]

Contents

Life

Denner was born in the city of Altona, now incorporated into Hamburg. At the time Altona was part of the Danish kingdom, its second largest city after Copenhagen and famous for its religious tolerance. His father Jacob Denner was a Mennonite minister and a dyer. [6] Balthasar had seven sisters; he was the only son. [7] When he was eight years old he had an accident and for the rest of his life he walked with a limp. [7] His convalescence was slow and to cope with boredom Denner started to draw and copy paintings by Berchem and Bloemaert. [8] His teacher was a Dutchman, Frans van Amama. In 1696 the family moved to Danzig, where Denner practiced oil painting between 1698 and 1700. [3] In 1701 the family moved back to the Hanseatic town. Balthasar became a clerk for his uncle, who was a merchant. In 1707 he became a member of the Prussian Academy of Arts in Berlin.

Denner began his career as a painter of miniatures. In 1709 he painted the nine-year-old Charles Frederick, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp and his sister in miniature; Denner was invited to Gottorp Castle and painted himself in the background of a group portrait of the ducal family. In 1712 he married and the next year he moved to Hamburg when Altona was destroyed by Magnus Stenbock during the Great Nordic War; in 1714 he made a trip to Amsterdam; in 1715 to London; in 1717 to Copenhagen. In 1720 he visited the court in Wolfenbüttel and Hanover.

Portrait of an Old Woman

Portrait of an Old Woman Balthasar Denner - Portrait einer alten Frau - Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien.jpg
Portrait of an Old Woman

While in Hanover, Denner was invited to England, but first he met with Adriaen van der Werff, and showed him his painting of an old woman. Van der Werff was impressed and could only compare the painting with the Mona Lisa. [7] Also in London the painting caused great excitement and it was sent to Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor. [9] Denner received 5875 guilders and in 1725 he was ordered to paint an old man as a counterpiece for the same amount of money. In 1728 he left London because of the smog and sailed to Hamburg.

After London

In 1729 he visited the court in Blankenburg am Harz en Dresden; afterwards he went to Berlin. In 1730 his pupil Dominicus van der Smissen married Catharina Denner, his sister. Denner went for the second time to Amsterdam; in 1734 to Braunschweig and Salzdahlum. In 1734 he rented a house in Amsterdam, but was busy painting for Christian Ludwig II, Duke of Mecklenburg in Schwerin. He moved there in 1736 and painted the wealthy Dutch banker George Clifford, a keen plant-collector who had invited Linnaeus to live on his estate Hartekamp. In 1739 he left Amsterdam. When he painted the twelve-year-old Peter III of Russia in Kiel (around 1740), he had to make several copies, which were sent to all the European courts; one was sent to Russia as a silent reminder Peter could be considered the heir. In 1742 he refused to move to Saint Petersburg, where he was offered a good job. When painting a sitter, his children would play music for them. [7] In 1743 he painted Adolf Frederick, King of Sweden. Around 1745 he lived in Altona again, where three of his children were buried. Denner was in grief and did not paint for one year.

When he died, aged 63, in Rostock, there were 46 unfinished paintings in his studio. Staatliches Museum Schwerin owns 75 portraits by Denner. His portrait of Georg Frideric Handel (1733) is at the National Portrait Gallery, London. Denner also painted the children of Barthold Heinrich Brockes, a poet from Hamburg, who was the librettist of the Brockes Passion. Denner had become friends with Johan van Gool, and had sent him his biography. [4]

In 1837 a Swiss painter fooled the Louvre experts with Head of an old woman wearing a bonnet. [10]

See also

Related Research Articles

Frans Hals 17th-century painter from the Northern Netherlands

Frans Hals the Elder was a Dutch Golden Age painter, normally of portraits, who lived and worked in Haarlem.

Govert Flinck

GovertTeuniszoon Flinck was a Dutch painter of the Dutch Golden Age.

Gerrit Dou

Gerrit Dou, also known as GerardDouw or Dow, was a Dutch Golden Age painter, whose small, highly polished paintings are typical of the Leiden fijnschilders. He specialised in genre scenes and is noted for his trompe-l'œil "niche" paintings and candlelit night-scenes with strong chiaroscuro. He was a student of Rembrandt.

Thomas de Keyser 17th-century Dutch portrait painter

Thomas de Keyser was a Dutch portrait painter, a dealer in Belgium bluestone and stone mason. He was the most in-demand portrait painter in the Netherlands until the 1630s, when Rembrandt eclipsed him in popularity. Rembrandt was influenced by his work, and many of de Keyser's paintings were later falsely attributed to Rembrandt.

Bartholomeus van der Helst Dutch painter

Bartholomeus van der Helst was a Dutch painter. Considered to be one of the leading portrait painters of the Dutch Golden Age, his elegant portraits gained him the patronage of Amsterdam's elite as well as the Stadtholder's circle. Besides portraits, van der Helst painted a few genre pictures as well as some biblical scenes and mythological subjects.

Ferdinand Bol Dutch painter (1616-1680)

Ferdinand Bol was a Dutch painter, etcher and draftsman. Although his surviving work is rare, it displays Rembrandt's influence; like his master, Bol favored historical subjects, portraits, numerous self-portraits, and single figures in exotic finery.

Jan Lievens

Jan Lievens was a Dutch Golden Age painter who was associated with his close contemporary Rembrandt, a year older, in the early parts of their careers. They shared a birthplace in Leiden, training with Pieter Lastman in Amsterdam, where they shared a studio for about five years until 1631. Like Rembrandt he painted both portraits and history paintings, but unlike him Lievens' career took him away from Amsterdam to London, Antwerp, The Hague and Berlin.

Frans Pourbus the Elder

Frans Pourbus the Elder was a Flemish Renaissance painter who is known primarily for his portraits and religious compositions, as well as a few genre scenes. He was the son of the prominent Bruges painter and cartographer Pieter Pourbus and the father of Frans Pourbus the Younger who became an international portraitist of the European ruling class.

Adriaen van der Werff

Adriaen van der Werff was a Dutch painter of portraits and erotic, devotional and mythological scenes. His brother, Pieter van der Werff (1661–1722), was his principal pupil and assistant.

Jürgen Ovens

Jürgen Ovens, also known as Georg, or Jurriaen Ovens whilst in the Netherlands, was a portrait painter and art-dealer from North Frisia and, according to Arnold Houbraken, a pupil of Rembrandt. He is best known for his painting in the city hall of Amsterdam and paintings for the Dukes of Holstein-Gottorp for whom he worked for more than 30 years, also as an art dealer.

Balthasar van den Bossche Belgian painter

Balthasar van den Bossche (1681–1715) was a Flemish painter who is mainly known for his wide range of genre subjects and occasional portraits.

Arnold Houbraken Painter from the Northern Netherlands

Arnold Houbraken was a Dutch painter and writer from Dordrecht, now remembered mainly as a biographer of Dutch Golden Age painters.

Jean Humbert de Superville was a Dutch painter of Swiss and French extraction. Humbert was primarily known as a portrait painter.

Joris van Schooten

Joris van Schooten (1587–1651) was a Dutch Golden Age painter and the uncle of the Leiden mathematician Frans van Schooten.

Balthasar Beschey

Balthasar Beschey was a Flemish painter, draughtsman and decorative painter of interiors. He started his career as landscape painter but later on switched to history and portrait painting. He played a prominent role in the development of the Academy of Arts in Antwerp and as a teacher.

Pieter van der Werff

Pieter van der Werff was a Dutch Golden Age painter. He assisted his older brother, Adriaen van der Werff.

Joseph Coymans

Joseph Coymans, was a Dutch businessman in Haarlem, known best today for his portrait painted by Frans Hals, and its pendant, Portrait of Dorothea Berck. The former resides at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, the latter at the Baltimore Museum of Art. A portrait of the couple's son Willem is held by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Jan Carel Vierpeyl

Jan Carel Vierpeyl or Jan Carel Vierpyl was a Flemish painter known mainly for his family portraits and genre scenes of merry and gallant companies.

Jacob van Reesbroeck

Jacob van Reesbroeck or Jacob van Rysbroeck was a Flemish portrait painter and engraver from Antwerp whose patrons included prominent local families as well as foreign aristocrats and monarchs.

Dominicus van der Smissen

Dominicus van der Smissen, or Van der Schmissen was a German painter; known primarily for portraits.

References

Denner's portrait of British soldier-statesman James Stanhope (1673-1721), detail, oil-on-canvas. Portrait of soldier-statesman James Stanhope (1673-1721), detail, oil-on-canvas, by Balthasar Denner (1685-1749).jpg
Denner's portrait of British soldier-statesman James Stanhope (1673–1721), detail, oil-on-canvas.
  1. George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) Composer see: Portrait #3, Balthasar Denner, 1727 www.artexpertswebsite.com Archived 6 January 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  2. Grove Art Online, GARAS, Klara: 'Denner's genre figures and character heads depicting wrinkled old women and men were particularly popular and were admired for their detailed execution and meticulous accuracy. They ensured the artist international success and attracted especially high fees: Emperor Charles VI of Austria is believed to have sent 600 ducats from Vienna in payment for a typical head of a woman, an extraordinary sum at that time.'
  3. 1 2 Grove Art Online, GARAS, Klara:'Denner, Balthasar'
  4. 1 2 "Biography in Dutch". Inghist.nl. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
  5. Gilman, D. C.; Peck, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). "Denner, Balthasar"  . New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead.
  6. "Denner, Jakob (1659-1746)". GAMEO. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
  7. 1 2 3 4 Balthasar Denner (1685-1749) portrait artist www.mennonitehistorian.ca, accessed 16 December 2020
  8. Peter Prange: Deutsche Zeichnungen: 1450 - 1800 : Zeichnungen aus dem Kupferstichkabinett ... books.google.com
  9. "KHM Bilddatenbank — KHM Bilddatenbank". Bilddatenbank.khm.at. Archived from the original on 14 December 2013. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
  10. "Un faux Balthasar Denner: Tête de vieille femme au bonnet, ou le Louvre trompé par un faussaire en 1837" (PDF). Louvre.fr. Retrieved 18 May 2015.