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Helmut Börsch-Supan

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Helmut Börsch-Supan

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(b Ilmenau, Thuringia, May 21, 1731; d Erfurt, Oct 18, 1794).

German painter. He received his training from his father, Johann Christian Heintze, who was originally a gunsmith before becoming court painter in the tiny principality of Saxony-Hildburghausen. In 1772 Heinsius was appointed court painter in Weimar, which became one of the centres of intellectual life in Germany at this period. There he painted portraits, for example of Charles Augustus, Duke of Saxe-Weimar and of poets of the ‘Musenhof’ such as Johann Wilhelm Gleim and Johann Karl Musäus. However, he did not receive particular recognition with these works. A period of leave in Hamburg (1781–4) was more successful and artistically fruitful. He returned to Weimar and produced a number of portraits, for example Anna Amalia, Duchess of Saxe-Weimar, of great maturity.

Heinsius’ awkward, choleric temperament and his lack of education did not help to make him popular at a time when the artist–scholar was in demand. His financial position was somewhat improved by an appointment as artist at the Freie Zeichen Schule at Weimar. He was a simple craftsman who had turned his hand to portraits; these had an unvarnished truthfulness that did not flatter the sitter. His conception of art owed much to the ideals of the Baroque, his portraits lacking pathos and sentimentality and showing no trace of classical idealization. However, due to their naturalism, his portraits are of great documentary value. His brother, ...

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Helmut Börsch-Supan

German family of artists. Christian Wilhelm Kolbe (c. 1715–1800) lived in Berlin where he made embroideries worked in gold thread; his brother Johann Diederich Kolbe (d 1786) was a goldsmith. Christian Wilhelm’s wife came from a Huguenot family, and their two sons Christian Friedrich Kolbe (b 1758), who was an embroiderer working in gold thread, and (1) Carl Wilhelm Kolbe (i) grew up in an atmosphere steeped in French culture. Carl Wilhelm’s son was (2) Carl Wilhelm Kolbe (ii), the most important representative of the Romantic history painting movement in Berlin, and a relation by marriage to Daniel Chodowiecki, who influenced his career. Johann Diederich’s son, Heinrich Christian Kolbe (1771–1836), was a painter in Düsseldorf, whose realistic portraits were executed in a Neo-classical style that he alone employed after the appointment of Wilhelm Schadow as Director of the Staatliche Kunstakademie in 1826...

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Ekhart Berckenhagen

(b Berlin, July 25, 1725; d Berlin, June 24, 1797).

German painter, draughtsman and etcher. He was the son of the goldsmith Christian Bernhard Rode (d 1755) and the pupil of N. Müller (fl 1740s) and Antoine Pesne. From 1750 to 1752 he studied with Carle Vanloo and Jean Restout in Paris, and between 1754 and 1756 he studied in Rome and in Venice, where he produced oil sketches after Titian, Tintoretto, Pordenone and Giordano. He was a fast and prolific worker with a talent for strong composition and use of colour. This last quality became especially evident after 1770, when he began to execute his works in bright, strong-toned colours. He painted several monumental wall and ceiling paintings, mainly in the castles and palaces of the aristocracy in the area of Berlin and Potsdam. In 1771–3 he produced a series of paintings (e.g. the Ploughman Cincinnatus Chosen to be Dictator) for the house of ...

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Michael Ellul

Maltese family of bronze-founders. Originally from Haute Provence, they arrived in Malta in 1530 with the Order of St John of the Knights Hospitaller. Between 1700 and 1798 the family was responsible for the Order’s foundry in Valletta. The first family member recorded working in Malta was Francesco Trigance (i) (c. 1660–1737), who was involved in the casting of the fine bronze statue of Grand Master Antonio Manuel de Vilhena (1734) near The Mall in Floriana. The best-known foundry operators were Francesco Trigance (ii) and his brother Gioacchino Trigance (b 1746), grandsons of Francesco (i). Francesco (ii) worked in Turin, where he produced a bronze cannon, signed and dated 1769 (now in Great Siege Square, Valletta). The Trigance brothers also cast a number of church bells and made a medal-cutting machine for the Order’s mint. When Napoleon expelled the Order from Malta in 1798...

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Michael Ellul

Maltese family of silversmiths, architects and designers. The first recorded family member is Carlo Troisi (fl 1697–1736), followed by Andrea Troisi (fl 1750), Pietro Paolo Troisi (?1700–50) and Massimiliano Troisi (fl 1794). A silver sugar bowl (1775–97; London, Mus. Order St John) is attributed to Aloisio Troisi, probably a member of the same family. During the 17th and 18th centuries various members of the Troisi family filled the post of Master of the Mint of the Order of St John of the Knights Hospitaller. The Mint was established in Valletta, Malta, in 1566. The best-known Troisi silversmith is Pietro Paolo, who was also an architect. His best work is the Altar of Repose, which he designed for Mdina Cathedral, and which was constructed by the Maltese painter Francesco Vincenzo Zahra in 1750. It is a magnificent Baroque scenographic creation in wood executed in a masterful ...