Denner, Balthasar (1685-1749)

Denner, Balthasar (1685-1749)
Denner, Balthasar (1685-1749)

Balthasar Denner was an eminent German artist predominantly known for highly detailed half-length portraits and head studies. He was inspired by the 17th-century masters of the Dutch Golden Age and trained at the Prussian Academy of Arts in Berlin. His works are held in numerous public collections including at Tate Britain, the British Museum, the Royal Collection Trust, National Portrait Gallery, V&A and the Rijksmuseum.

Public Collections

Tate Britain, Royal Collection Trust, British Museum, National Portrait Gallery, V&A, Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, National Gallery of Art in Washington, Harvard Art Museums, National Gallery of Canada, Auckland Art Gallery, Baltimore Museum of Art, Bodleian Libraries, Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, The State Hermitage Museum, University of Oxford, Madingley Hall, University of Cambridge, National Trust, Belton House, National Trust, Knole, The Bowes Museum, National Trust, Fenton House, Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest, Nationalmuseum in Stockholm, National Museum of Norway.



Born in Altona, Hamburg, Germany. At the time, Altona was part of the Danish kingdom. His father, Jacob Denner, was a Mennonite minister and a dyer. His mother was Catharina Denner (nee Wiebe).

C. 1693

A fall caused him to walk with a limp for the rest of his life. During his long and laborious convalescence, he developed his drawing technique by copying works by the Dutch masters, such as Nicolaes Pieterszoon Berchem (1620-1683) and Abraham Bloemaert (1566-1651).

Trained under Dutch artist, Frans van Amama.


Moved to Danzig with his family.

Worked as a clerk for his uncle.


Enrolled at the Prussian Academy of Arts in Berlin.


Highly regarded as a miniaturist, he produced a portrait of nine-year-old Charles Frederick, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp, and his sister.

Painted a group portrait of the Ducal family at Gottorp Castle. Included himself in the background.


Married Esther Winter.


Moved back to Hamburg during the Great Nordic War.


Travelled to Amsterdam.


Travelled to London.


Travelled to Copenhagen.


Travelled to Hanover.


Travelled to Wolfenbüttel and Hanover, Germany.


Travelled to London where his exquisite portrait of an old woman was met with much praise and excitement. It was sent to Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor and Denner was paid 5875 guilders.


Commissioned to paint a companion piece (an old man) for his famous portrait of an old woman.


Moved to Hamburg due to the overwhelming smog in London.


Travelled to the court in Blankenburg am Harz en Dresden.
Travelled to Berlin.


Travelled to Amsterdam.


Travelled to Braunschweig and Salzdahlum.
Rented a property in Amsterdam.
Commissioned by Christian Ludwig II, Duke of Mecklenburg in Schwerin.


Moved to Amsterdam.


Left Amsterdam.


Produced a portrait of Adolf Frederick, King of Sweden.


Lived in Altona.


Died in Rostock, Germany.

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