Franz von Lenbach

Ernst von Possart as Richard II

Details

Provenienz:
Nachlass des Künstlers;
Privatsammlung, Deutschland.

Descrizione

Franz von Lenbach achieved the highest recognition throughout Europe as a portrait painter of the aristocracy of birth, the intellectual and financial aristocracy in the second half of the 19th century. Regardless of their representative character, his paintings are above all intimate psychological studies. Facial expressions and gestures communicate more about the essence than the status of the person portrayed, even if it is a portrait of a role, as in the case of Ernst von Possart as King Richard III. The court actor, who was appointed the first director of the Prinzregententheater in Munich in 1900, was one of the most popular stage actors of his time and made guest appearances at the most important theatres in Germany for decades. The role of the English King Richard III in William Shakespeare’s play of the same name was one of his principal roles, in which he had himself portrayed several times in the 1880s. In Possart’s gaze and posture, Lenbach condenses gnawing doubt and eerie foreboding into a pathos-laden, yet extremely subtle portrait of the devious anti-hero that touches on the fundamental questions of human existence. After becoming entangled in cunning and murder, he himself comes to a tragic end. In this virtuoso portrait, the fear and tension of the inevitable course of fate become palpable.

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