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Antoine Pesne (1683 - 1757): The Works of the Prussian Court Painter in the Berlin Gemäldegalerie - Old Master Paintings

19.12.2003 to 31.05.2004


For the first time, the Gemäldegalerie - Old Master Paintings presents its collection of works of the Prussian court painter Antoine Pesne. The exhibition is part of the series 'Images in Focus', and offers an overview of Pesne's work between 1710 and 1755.

True to the art-historical concept underlying the Gemäldegalerie - Old Master Paintings, which is organised by art schools, the 17 paintings (portraits, genre and historical paintings) by Antoine Pesne embody the characteristics of the art originating in the 'Kurmark' part of Prussia in the first half of the 18th century.

Trained in Rome and Venice, the Frenchman Pesne was one of the founders of the artistic culture for which Brandenburg-Prussia became known. In May 1711, King Frederick I appointed him official painter at his royal seat in Berlin. During the following 47 years, Pesne worked mainly on portraits, at home and abroad. The famous portrait of Frederick the Great was painted in 1739-40 at the palace of the crown prince in Rheinsberg. Until 1763, it was the last authentic royal portrait, blending naturalism with the aura of the 'sovereign'. In 1754, Pesne completed what was probably his last self-portrait, painted at his house in Berlin, not far from the Castle and Royal Opera, and depicting him with two of his daughters.