Antique 18th century c. 1740 A.D. Portrait Of The Polish King Augustus III Of Poland
Antique, 18th century, circa 1740 A.D., hand-painted with great attention to detail, on a heavy, hand-woven canvas, half-length oil portrait of the young King Augustus III (October 17, 1696 – October 5, 1763).
He was the King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1733 until 1763, as well as the Elector of Saxony.
The king is depicted in armour, with a black cravat and an elaborate white lace collar and is wearing a blue moiré silk sash of the Polish Order of the White Eagle across his chest.
An ermine-trimmed red coronation cloak slung over his left shoulder, with a bullion embroidered large star of the Knight - Order of the White Eagle of Poland, inscribed with the motto: "Pro Fide Rege et Lege" (Latin "For Faith, Law, and King," Polish "Za Wiarę, Króla i Prawo").
The Order of the White Eagle (Polish: Order Orła Białego) is Poland's oldest and highest decoration, established in 1705 by King Augustus II the Strong (Polish, "August Mocny," German, "August der Starke").
A superb quality plate armour, most likely made by a Nuremberg master, is richly decorated with etched and gilded ornament. A breastplate neck and the pauldron are lined with blue fabric and trimmed with gold cord. In some of his portraits, the ribbon is blue; in others, it is red since the fabric attached to the armour was easy to replace.
The painting shows the artist's superb skills. The finely depicted face with beautiful eyes, lips, softly curled hair, armour, details of the watered pattern of moire silk sash, the texture of the red coronation cloak, excellent details of the ermine fur, and the splendid lace collar are exemplary, indicative of an artist who knew how to portray the heart and soul of his subject.
This magnificent portrait is attributed to Louis de Silvestre (June 23, 1675 – April 11, 1760), a French portraitist and history painter. He was a court painter for King Augustus II of Poland and director of the Royal Academy of Arts in Dresden.
All portraits of Augustus II and Augustus III painted by Louis de Silvestre are unsigned, they were commissioned directly by the monarchs, and the artist's name on the front of the kings' portraits was not wanted.
In several of his portraits depicting Augustus II and Augustus III in armour, the right hands of the monarchs are bent in a characteristic manner since when posing for the portrait, the king's right hand rested on the commander's baton. This can be seen in full-length portraits of Augustus II and Augustus III painted by Louis de Silvestre, in which both kings' bent right hands are resting on the commanders' batons.
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In many portraits, king Augustus III is depicted in identical armour adorned with identical gold ornaments. Also, in the portrait of his father, King August II the Strong, the king is shown in identical armour, so it is possible that this armour was inherited by his son and successor, King Augustus III, or two identical armours were made, one for King Augustus II The Strong, and the second one for his son King Augustus III.
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CONDITION: The painting is in good overall condition with its natural craquelure - the most obvious characteristic sign of age seen in most old oil paintings.
It has retained its original canvas with no holes. The surface of the painting has been professionally cleaned, and the back of the canvas has been coated with a special substance to make it stronger and protect against deterioration.
Since the old strainer frame had been damaged and weakened by woodworms, the canvas was stretched over the new strainer frame and pinned with new nails. The canvas tacking margins on the stretcher frame are worn with abrasions and have holes from old nails. Please see the last photographs. All this work was done by a professional museum expert.
Height: 78.5 cm (30.91 inches).
Width: 63.4 cm (24.96 inches).
Acquired from an old Canadian private collection, including museum-quality Polish art and antique Polish arms and armour, probably the largest in North America.
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