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Balthasar Denner
Balthasar Denner, Portrait Of Captain Mathias Ibsen Lunding, Oil Painting

c. 1725

About the Item

This splendid early 18th-century oil painting by German artist Balthasar Denner (1685-1749) depicts Captain Mathias Ibsen Lunding (1690-1728). At the height of his success, Balthasar Denner was considered by many as one of the greatest living portraitists. In 1721, his ‘portrait of an old woman’ was finished with such attention to detail that it was met with sheer astonishment. It was photographic, but pre-dated photography by a century. Every hair was precisely rendered, even the facial ‘fuzz’. While each wrinkle was painstakingly replicated. A bidding war ensued, with various interested parties, and eventually, it was sold to Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor, for 5875 Dutch guilders (around £400,000 in today’s currency). Numerous commissions followed and he travelled extensively, living in Amsterdam, London and various parts of Germany. His studios were entertaining, with his children often accompanying a sitting with music. Denner’s portrait of George Frideric Handel is at the National Portrait Gallery, London. Here, in this work from around 1725, he’s rendered a characterful likeness of Captain Mathias Ibsen Lunding. During the 11-year war with Sweden, Lunding was captured by a Swedish privateer and brought to Gothenburg, but escaped after attacking his guards. During the resulting drama he was wounded - his injury contributed to his death some years later. The facial details are exquisitely done with the eyes and prominent nose a particular success. He carries a relaxed expression with an approachable smile. It’s possible that Denner’s daughter, Esther Denner, painted the body. The portrait was commissioned by the Lunding family, who own a letter referring to its purchase. Inscribed on the reverse and held within a later frame. Labels & Inscriptions: Old written inscription on reverse plus a printed label. Provenance: Private collection, Denmark. Artist’s auction maximum: £28,672 Established in 2017, Brave Fine Art is a premier English art dealership based in Cheltenham with clients including national galleries and country estates. Our team includes a conservator, logistics specialist and art historian. Over 1,000 paintings have been transported to the US and Canada safely with hundreds of glowing reviews. We set our prices fairly from the start as we prefer to sell quickly and continually evolve the collection. Around 40 new discoveries are added every month. If you have any questions at all, we’d love to hear from you
  • Creator:
    Balthasar Denner (1685 - 1749, German)
  • Creation Year:
    c. 1725
  • Dimensions:
    Height: 33.5 in (85.09 cm)Width: 28.5 in (72.39 cm)
  • Medium:
  • Movement & Style:
  • Period:
    1720-1729
  • Condition:
    Artwork presents well. Fine craquelure but the paint is stable. Canvas relined. Later stretcher. Frame with some light wear.
  • Gallery Location:
    Cheltenham, GB
  • Reference Number:
    1stDibs: LU2328213918722
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