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Attributed to Pesne, Antoine (French painter, 1683-1757, active in Prussia) , Frederick the Great, King of Prussia

Core Record

Title Frederick the Great, King of Prussia
Alternative Title Field Marshal James Keith
Collection Aberdeenshire Heritage
Artist Attributed to Pesne, Antoine (French painter, 1683-1757, active in Prussia)
Date 1743 (dated)
Signed yes
Description Previously thought to be Field Marshal James Keith, this portrait depicts Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. The French artist Antoine Pesne (1683-1757) worked in Prussia and painted Frederick several times. The present portrait type was often copied, and further disseminated by its reproduction in printed form. Frederick, one of the so-called 'enlightened monarchs', was a celebrated soldier, and he is shown wearing the star of the Order of St Andrew that he was awarded by Catherine II of Russia in 1740, and that he wears in all portraits of him by Pesne after that date.
Current Accession Number PEHMS:P11979
Inscription front lr 'Pesne/ 1743'
Subject portrait (Frederick the Great, King of Prussia)
Measurements 91.4 x 71.1 cm cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Given by Alexander Keith and Thomas Mackie in 1924.
Notes Extant portraits of Frederick the Great by Pesne, all with the same head type as the present portrait, include examples at the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin and the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg. This portrait, at the Arbuthnott Museum in Peterhead, although signed by Pesne, may be a copy. If so, the signature would have been added by the copyist in order to authenticate the likeness, probably in relation to the selling of the painting.

The frame label reads 'Field-Marshal Keith/ Born Inverugie Castle 1696/ Kiled Battle of Hochkirchen 1758/ Presented by/ ALEXANDER KEITH and THOMAS MACKIE/ Pesne 1753 - 1924'.

Pesne's portrait of Field Marshal James Keith is in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh.

Rights Owner Aberdeenshire Council
Author David Taylor



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