Balthasar Denner

To celebrate BADA Week 2023, Isherwood Fine Art have chosen to feature this powerful portrait by the German painter Balthasar Denner (Hamburg 1685-1749 Rostock).

The young musician, seated in a yellow silk gown trimmed with a pink bow playing the cello, is believed to be the artist Balthazar Denner's eldest daughter Catharina (1715-1744), after his marriage to Esther Winter in Hamburg in 1712. She is recognisable in another portrait of the Denner family in the Hamburg Kunsthalle, painted circa 1740 by the artist's son, Jacob Denner (1722-1765). 

Balthasar DennerBalthasar Denner (1685-1749) was born in Hamburg which was at that time part of Denmark. He began as a painter of portrait miniatures and his eye for detail  continued into his larger scale portrait paintings which were greatly admired for their meticulous accuracy and made him highly sought after. Denner is recorded as being at the Prussian Academy of Arts in Berlin in 1707 before going to work at the Copenhagen court in 1712. This began his travels around the European courts, including London, Dresden, Berlin, Kiel and Amsterdam. After four years in Amsterdam from 1736 to 1740, he eventually settled in Rostock where he died aged sixty-three in 1749.

Denner loved music and it is said that his children (he had five daughters and one son) who were all talented musicians, played while his clients posed for their portraits. As well as the royals and nobles of Europe, his sitters included George Frideric Handel, painted in 1726 (National Portrait Gallery London).

Denner depicted his own family playing music in a painting probably painted in London in 1728 before his departure for Germany (now in the Copenhagen Museum). 

Balthasar Denner

Private collection,  Northern Germany
Professor Helmut Borsch-Supan, Berlin, confirmed the authenticity of the painting after examining it in 2013.

The painting will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonnée of the artist, by Ute Mannhardt.
The painting can be viewed by appointment in Bath or London.

Image Caption

Balthasar Denner (Hamburg 1685-1749 Rostock).
Portrait of the artist's daughter playing the cello, circa 1730.
Oil on canvas
In frame: 88 x 75cm.
Canvas: 76 x 62cm.