Portrait of Caroline, Queen of Bavaria (1776-1841), née Prinzessin von Baden (after Joseph Karl Stieler (1781-1858)) [Part II]

June 12, 2013 § Leave a comment

026 25 Karoline Bayern

Portrait of Caroline, Queen of Bavaria (1776-1841), née Prinzessin von Baden (after Joseph Karl Stieler (1781-1858)) [Part II]

Caroline, Queen of Bavaria (1776-1841), born Princess of Baden, married the widowed Maximilian I Joseph in 1797, becoming a devoted mother to his four (surviving) children, and between 1799 and 1810 giving birth to eight more (including two sets of twins). Apart from raising, educating and finding brilliant matches for her and her husband’s numerous off-spring, Caroline immersed herself in charitable work and women’s welfare, and, as the first Protestant Queen of Bavaria, promoted religious tolerance. Fine arts were especially close to her heart: she was instructed in painting by Philipp Jakob Becker (1763-1829); kept Joseph Stieler busy with the constant supply of family portrait commissions; and for each of her daughters compiled landscape albums with works by Bavarian artists as wedding gifts.  She took a special interest in supporting female artists, and among those who received the highest patronage were portrait and miniature painter Margarete Geiger (1783-1809); her sister, illustrator and tapestry artist Katharina Sattler (1789-1861); and lithographic and drawing artist Marie Electrine Freifrau von Freyberg (1797-1847).

Just like with the portrait of her husband, Maximilian I Joseph, King of Bavaria, Franz Xaver Winterhalter’s lithographic portrait of the Queen, based on a portrait of Joseph Stieler, emphasises the civic virtues of the monarch’s spouse, rather than the privileged accident of birth. A ubiquitous evening gown and crown jewels are replaced here with a day dress, showing the Queen’s readiness to attend to her duties as the premier patron of charitable and benevolent institutions of her adopted nation.

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg, 2013.

Portrait of Caroline, Queen of Bavaria (1776-1841), née Prinzessin von Baden (after Joseph Karl Stieler (1781-1858)) [Part I]

June 11, 2013 § Leave a comment

026 25 Karoline Bayern

Portrait of Caroline, Queen of Bavaria (1776-1841), née Prinzessin von Baden (after Joseph Karl Stieler (1781-1858)) [Part I]

Winterhalter also produced a lithograph after Stieler’s portrait of Caroline, Queen of Bavaria (1776-1841), née Prinzessin von Baden, the second wife of Maximilian I Joseph, King of Bavaria.

As I am stating in my forthcoming PhD dissertation on the artist, just like the portrait of the King, the portrait of the Queen of Bavaria is similarly understated, “unburdened by the signifiers of the sitter’s royal status.”

“No jewels or extraneous decorations are worn. Instead, the Queen is dressed simply, but at the height of fashion. A tight velvet bodice with starched lace frills is partly covered by a luxurious fur pelt; elaborately curled hairstyle is covered by a beret with an extravagantly oversize ostrich plume.”

The original portrait once again remains untraced, and it is most likely that Joseph Stieler may have prepared a portrait sketch of the Queen, in pencil and ink wash, now lost, especially for the purpose of it being lithographed by Winterhalter.

© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg, 2013.

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