Portrait of a Young Prince (a) and Portrait of a Gentleman in Armour (b)
Anna Maria Braun (1642-1713)
17th – 18th century, Polychrome wax and fabric
These two portraits are most definitely by the German wax modeller Anna Maria Braun, the daughter of an artist – her father, Georg Pfrundt, was an engraver and sculptor – who married medallist Johann Bartholomaeus Braun. Having studied between Nuremberg and Frankfurt, she chose to restrict her activity to the production of small wax portraits and scenes of mythological subjects, characterised by the inclusion of natural objects. Equally characteristic is the use of fabric, used here as a curtain or theatrical backdrop; in the portraits, the preferred scheme is the semi-frontal presentation of half-length figures with fabric included to simulate clothing, as is the case with the image of the little prince, who is richly adorned with a wealth of detail. This precision not only in the depiction of the physiognomies but also that of the ornaments and decorations meant that her works were in demand at European, German, and Dutch courts between the 17th and 18th century, and were prized for the preciousness of the rendering. The portraits stand out well against their black wooden backgrounds.