Monday, October 08, 2012

Silhouette Portraits

Profile portrait silhouettes of 18th cent.
European nobility by JF Anthing

(The images above have been cropped from their - generally - full page display 
and background stains and spots/stains have been removed or toned down)

'Collection de Cent Silhouettes Des Personnes Illustres Et Celebres Dessinées D'Aprés Les Orginaux', 1791 by (Johann) Friedrich Anthing is online at the Bavarian State Library.

The names of all the royals and nobles depicted in the book's silhouettes can be found in the early pages of the volume. There's another version of this book at Dresden but it's an inferior, monochromatic print quality for mine.

These elegant etchings feature a novel, two-tone, printing technique and if any experts out there can offer an opinion as to how the print finish was achieved I'd love to hear from them. I can only presume that the portraits were pressed first with the same size plate as the border design printing plates, but really, I'm not sure. In any event, I think I might play around and make a few birthday/xmas cards &c out of some of these.

JF Anthing (1753-1805) was raised in central Germany and became something of a travelling portrait artist, specialising in the popular 18th and 19th century silhouette effect. He was also later a military adjutant to a Russian general whose historical biography he eventually wrote and published [Amazon].

Anthing enjoyed commissions and patronage from the royal courts across Europe and lived much of his life in St Petersburg, where he also created silhouette portraits of the Russian Science Academy members.


1 comment :

Kelly Robinson said...

Lovely. They have a lot of detail to be silhouettes. I'm used to the ones that are solid black.

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