enamel on copper
oval: 5.6cm x 4.5cm
Exhibition: Celle 2000-2002, no. 1
Literature: Otten, Pappe and Schmieglitz-Otten 2000, pp. 28-9; Pappe und Schmieglitz-Otten 2016, p. 31
Johann Wilhelm (1658-1716), Elector Palatine since 1690, was an impressive Baroque prince and an important patron. Brought up and educated by Jesuits, he pursued a counter-reformatory policy. The statue of the same sitter by Gabriel de Grupello in Düsseldorf is famous. This portrait shows his head and shoulders in the typical Baroque representation of a sovereign with his richly decorated breast armour, the ermine-trimmed cape and the dark grey full-bottomed wig falling on his right shoulder and the folds of his coat. The power of colour and expression reveal the artist's extraordinary craftsmanship. Due to the complicated process of firing the enamel in several layers in the kiln, motives on enamel miniatures were hardly ever taken directly from life but copied from sketches or existing portraits.