“ One of the Finest and Most Successful Examples in the History of French Portrait Painting ”
Duplessis, Joseph Sifrède (Carpentras 1725 – Versailles 1802). Gluck. Playing at the spinet. Steel engraving by Johann Philipp Walther (Mühlhausen, Upper Palatinate, 1798 – Nuremberg 1868). 3rd quarter of the 19th century. 7 × 5⅜ in (17.7 × 13.8 cm).
Rated by Nagler as “one of the best French portrait painters”, the painting of Christoph Willibald Gluck in turn belongs to Duplessis’ best portraits:
“ Beside Alexander Roslin D. is the most important French portraitist of the late Ancien Régime. His œuvre … is characterized, however, by a markedly greater exactness. Typical for D.s technique, the drawing is extraordinarily true to the model and as one of very few portrait painters he masters the space surrounding the head in the picture … To concentrate the eye of the beholder onto the model usually represented in half length, D. limits himself to a minimum of accessories … his art (is) free of stereotypes in expression and composition. Depending on the model, in each case he creates an entirely different work, apart from the always masterly controlled relation between figure and format. Above all D. eschews flattering, beautified portrayals. He has no disposition to exaggerate the figures and preserves their discreet, composed countenance. The mentioned portrait of Gluck is considered one of the finest and most successful examples in the history of French portrait painting ”
(François Marandet, AKL XXXI , S. 56).
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