Antoine Pesne, the court painter of the Prussian kings, was born in Paris in 1683, son of a painter
who gave him his first lessons in art. He later studied at the Academy and with his uncle, Charles de
la Fosse. After an extensive tour of Italy, Pesne came to Berlin in 1711 where he would became a
court painter of the Prussian king, staying for over 46 years as a highly respected and well-paid figure
at court. He painted portraits of nearly everyone in the family. He was also the director of the Berlin
Academy. He was a portraitist, and also executed monumental historical and religious subjects. In
1720, he was made a member of the Paris Academy of Arts. He died in 1757.
From Thomas Carlyle's account of this event: "Her Majesty was Charity itself, Charity and Grace
combined, among the Pilgrims. On one occasion she picked out a handsome young lass among them,
and had Painter Pesne over to take her portrait. Handsome lass, by Pesne, in her Tyrolese Hat,
shone thenceforth on the walls of Monbijou, and fashion thereupon took up the Tyrolese Hat, which
has been much worn since by the beautiful part of the Creation, says Buchholz; but how many
changes they have introduced in it no pen can trace. At Berlin the Commissarius ceased and there
was usually given them a Candidatus Theologiae, who was to conduct them the rest of the way, and
be their Clergyman when once settled."
Lovely 18 year old Elizabeth Oberpüchler, above, was one of a family of 11 children who had fled
their mountain homeland. When the Salzburgers marched through Berlin, the Prussian Queen
asked the artist Pesne to do a portrait of her. Pesne's portrait of Elizabeth's father is picture below.
Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum, Braunschweig
Pesne  The Faces