Portrait of Freifrau von Bernus
Oil on canvas
Inv. No. 1798 (Property of the Städelscher Museums-Verein e.V.)
129 × 97 cm
Veit had begun his training in Rome among the Romantics of the Brotherhood of St. Luke and devoted himself to conventional history painting for a long time. By the time of this work’s execution he had become director of the Städelsches Institut. Now he perfected his craftsmanship and painterly elegance in a portrait of the Frankfurt noblewoman Marie von Bernus, whom he depicted splendidly attired and seated in an armchair as if on a throne. In 1843, he resigned his post in protest because, as a strict Catholic and former Nazarene, he regarded the acquisition of Lessing’s Protestant programmatic painting Johann Hus in Constance as a provocation.