Mid-18th-Century Danish School

Portrait Of A Bishop

Mid-18th-Century Danish School

Portrait Of A Bishop

This mid-18th-century Danish oil on canvas depicts a bishop wearing a black cassock, broad white ruff, and wig. He’s holding a bible in his right hand.

Dating to around 1740, this charming portrayal is a remarkable survivor. Its history is unknown but it probably once hung in an ecclesiastical setting. The sitter is clearly a man of some repute given the fact it still exists after almost three centuries.

Oftentimes, 18th-century bishops were revered not only for their divine connection with the Almighty but also for their sophisticated interests. For example, Norwegian bishop, Johan Ernst Gunnerus (1718-1773), is remembered for his skill as a botanist. Throughout his life, he amassed a large collection of specimens, and together with two historians, founded ‘the Trondheim Society’, which later became the Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters.

The identity of this particular sitter is unknown but it remains a fascinating historic piece.

Medium: Oil on canvas
Overall size: 31” x 37” / 78cm x 94cm
Year of creation: c. 1740
Labels & Inscriptions: Inscribed on the reverse in Danish.
Provenance: Private collection, Denmark.
Condition: Artwork presents well and shows its age (better for it). Craquelure but the paint has been stabilised. Areas of historic restoration. Minor losses. One patched repair. Frame with some wear.

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