Old Man in a Fur-Trimmed Coat


Balthazar Denner ( German, 1685 - 1749 )

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General Description

Balthazar Denner earned international renown for his remarkable ability to realistically capture his sitter’s appearance down to the minutest detail. As seen here, Denner typically posed his subjects against a plain dark background; his sober and highly polished style is similar to that of 17th-century Dutch portraits. The specificity of this sitter’s features might suggest this is a portrait. However, Denner made a specialty of painting tronies, or imaginary likenesses of aging men and women, for wealthy patrons that included European royalty. His meticulous rendering of the old man’s skin and hair, seen in the tiny wrinkles around the eyes and the almost invisible white and gray stubble on his chin, lends the sitter a striking, palpable presence.

Excerpt from

Nicole Myers, DMA label copy, 2017.

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