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Portrait of Christine Freifrau von Schönberg

Ferdinand von Rayskiaround 1864/1868

Alte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Alte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Christine von Schönberg (1838–1903) was the second wife of a close friend of Rayski’s, the Saxon Count Erich von Schönberg. Contrasting with the velvety black of her clothes, the sitter’s rosy cheeks and brown hair stand out against the diffuse darkness of the background. Rayski has captured the image on canvas with verve and a generous brush. The deep sense of calm flowing from the young woman contrasts with the sketchy style of the painting. Positioned solidly upright and defining the central axis of the painting, the sitter both occupies the space and is locked into her own world as it were. This work shows Rayski the portraitist at his most succinct, reminiscent of eighteenth-century portraitists and yet at the same time close to the French Impressionists.

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