Room 4

Anton Graff: portrait painter of his time

Anton Graff: Dora Stock, c. 1785
 

Whereas the portrait was once the prerogative of the aristocracy, in the Age of Enlightenment the rising bourgeoisie are having their portraits painted too. One of the most gifted portrait painters of the day is Graff, a Swiss artist working in Dresden.

He replaces the society portrait and all its narrative details with the portrayal of the human face as "mirror of the soul", concentrating on the essential nature of the individual. Goethe knows and esteems Graff but never has his portrait painted by him.

 

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