Gerson Digital : Germany I


2.11 Marine and Landscape Painting in Berlin

In marine painting it certainly was the subject that tempted the Elector to buy pictures of Hendrik Vroom and Jan Porcellis. Later on the sea painters had to paint his own fleet, just like the landscape painters were supposed to immortalize his castles. There is a painting by Lieve Verschuier (1627-1686) of the Brandenburg fleet from the year 1684, now Monbijou castle [= Charlottenburg] [1], that was assembled for him by the Dutch reeder Benjamin Raule from Middelburg.1 Also Reinier Nooms (1623/24-1664) is thought to have worked for the Elector, for which we could not find any evidence.2

In 1698 King Friedrich I appointed Michiel Maddersteeg (1662-1708) to his service for an annual salary of 1,000 Thaler. Perhaps the artist kept his residence in Holland and did only occasionally come to the court in Berlin. He painted Friedrich I on a pleasure yacht on the Spree in front of Köpenick castle [2].3 Moreover he was a shipbuilder as well and sailed twice to Berlin to bring the king a ship of his own making, which he then painted too [3-4].4 His paintings in the Berlin castles [5] invariably show him as a faithful follower of Ludolf Bakhuizen (1630-1708), whose pictures also must have been represented in the king’s collection.5

Lieve Verschuier
The fleet of the Great Elector, dated 1684
canvas, oil paint 164 x 244 cm
lower left : L. verschuier 1684
Berlin (Charlottenburg), Schloss Charlottenburg, inv./ GK I 928

Michiel Maddersteeg
Pleasure yachts of King Friedrich I of Prussia in front of Köpenick castle near Berlin, c. 1698-1708
canvas, oil paint 111 x 140 cm
Potsdam (Germany), Neues Palais

Michiel Maddersteeg
The Royal Yacht Liburnica (later renamed Fredericus I) arriving in Berlin, 1708
paper, black chalk, pen in brown and grey ink, grey wash 572 x 502 mm
lower right : Maddersteg fecit
The Hague/Aerdenhout/Breukelen/Bergen, art dealer Rob Kattenburg

Michiel Maddersteeg
Warships on the IJ near Amsterdam, c. 1700
canvas, oil paint 112 x 145 cm
Oranienburg, Schlossmuseum Oranienburg

Johann Georg Wolfgang after Michiel Maddersteeg
The Royal Yacht Liburnica (later renamed Fredericus I) making solemn entry in Berlin, 1708-1709
paper ? x ? mm
Whereabouts unknown

Landscape painters became acceptable at court quite late, or, to put it differently, it was recognized only later how they could be put to use. Minister Eberhard von Danckelman (1643-1722) tried to get Jacob de Heusch (1656-1701) employed at the Berlin court. Since he fell into disgrace himself, his protégé did not stay there for long either.6 Arnold Houbraken, who tells this, mentions only a view of the Berlin castle that the artist never finished.7 De Heusch travelled to Berlin together with the engineer, engraver and painter Johan Teyler (1648-c. 1709), whose plans did not work out and who returned to Nijmegen.8

The landscape artist Jan Ruyscher (c. 1625-1674/75) worked in the 1650s at the court in Berlin, before he moved on to Saxony in 1661.9 He certainly is identical to ‘Joh. Reusche’, who was appointed in Cleves as landscape painter to the Elector. There is a drawing of the village of Trampe in the Mark in the Cabinet of Prints in Berlin [6].10 Dirk Stoop (c. 1610-1686) glorified the Great Elector at the storming of a fortress.11 The painting originated in the same year 1681, in which the Elector had an agent in Amsterdam buy a painting by Philips Wouwerman. Maybe he was so much enchanted by the look of this work, that he wanted to be immortalized by his court painter in a similar combat situation. A similar commission was awarded to Jan van Huchtenburg (1647-1733), who painted the siege of Stettin in 1677 for him [7].12 Or was it meant as a memorial picture for King Friedrich I to honour his predecessor? Anyway, for the latter Huchtenburg created the bombardment of Geldern, an act of war that took place in 1703 [8].13

Jan Ruyscher
'Trampe in der niuwe marck Brandenborg', late 1650s
paper, pen and brush 100 x 166 mm
topside (positional attribute) : Trampe in der niuwe marck Brandenborg J Rauscher fecit.
Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin, inv./ 15313

Jan van Huchtenburg
The siege of Stettin by Friedrich Wilhelm Elector of Brandenbourg, 1677, after 1677
canvas, oil paint 147 x 173 cm
Oranienburg, Schlossmuseum Oranienburg, inv./ GK I 1869

Jan van Huchtenburg
The siege of the city of Geldern by Friedrich I of Prussia, 1703, after 1703
canvas, oil paint ? x ? cm
location unknown : HVCHTENBVRGH
Berlin (Charlottenburg), Schloss Charlottenburg, inv./ GK I 5166

Friedrich III/I also employed Abraham Begeyn (1637-1697), who had already received his patent as court landscape painter on 22 October 1688 [9].14 He designed gobelins with representations from the life of the Great Elector, which were completed around 1693 (Hohenzollern Museum) [10-11].15 In 1696 he was sent on a trip to draw all royal castles and the most important towns [12-13].16 Before he had the opportunity to develop his studies into large, decorative paintings, he died, and nothing came of the whole enterprise. Begeyn occupied the post of director of the Academy several times. Immediately after his death Friedrich I looked for a successor and found him in Michiel Carrée (1657-1727), who previously worked in England for several years. After the death of the king in 1713 Carrée returned to Holland. In the Berlin castles many unfortunate products of his brush still can be found [14].17

We have seen that some painters at the court of Berlin, maybe even most of them, were ‘recruited’ in the Cleves residence. Now is it not always clear if they all came to Berlin or whether they stayed in the land of Cleves, where Johan Maurits had work for them. There is a series of topographical drawings from the Dutch surveyer Arnold van Geelkercken (1622) from the surrounding of Cleves and two washed drawings of 1654 from Hendrik Feltman (1610/15-1670/3) [15-16], who was mentioned as a court painter in 1666.18 So we can name a few more artists who worked in Cleves: Emanuel Sonnius († 1662) became a court painter there in 1652 and a certain Huybert in 1661.19

Abraham Begeyn
Elector Friedrich III (King Friedrich I) hunting near the Havel river
canvas 215,7 x 307 cm
bottom left of the middle : CA Bega
Berlin (Grunewald), Jagdschloss Grunewald

Pierre Mercier after Abraham Begeyn and after Rutger van Langevelt
The battle of Fehrbellin, 1675, c. 1690
silk, wool ? x ? cm
Oranienburg, Schlossmuseum Oranienburg

Pierre Mercier after Abraham Begeyn and after Rutger van Langevelt
The landing on Rügen, c. 1690
silk, wool ? x ? cm
Oranienburg, Schlossmuseum Oranienburg

Artists from Cleves were sent to Holland as well. In 1661 the Elector sent the painter Johann Gregor Wolfgräber along with his agent Matthias Dögen (1605/6-1672) from Cleves to Amsterdam, to have him taught there ‘from the best teachers’ for three years. Wolfgräber also learned with Theodoor van Thulden (1606-1669), both in Den Bosch and in Antwerp, and taught the young princes of Cleves in 1661.20 Nothing of his work has been preserved. Conversely, from another painter we only know works, without being able to connect a person to the name. Windsor and Hampton Court preserve views of Cleves which are traditionally attributed to a certain Oldenburg [17-18].21 Possibly he had been in the service of the elector or his stadholder too. Was he the same person as the engraver Augustin Oldenburgh († 1737), who was called to Berlin in 1690 [19]?

attributed to Abraham Begeyn
View of the Berliner Schloss, the Spree and the wooden bridge, c. 1690
canvas, oil paint 164,5 x 189 cm
Berlijn, Stadtmuseum Berlin, inv./ GEM 89/10

Abraham Begeyn
Village and hunting castle Königswusterhausen from the south, c. 1691
paper, graphite 372 x 1078 mm
Berlijn, Stadtmuseum Berlin

Michiel Carrée
Coralled deer
canvas, oil paint 229 x 152 cm
lower center : M. Carree f
Berlin (Grunewald), Jagdschloss Grunewald, inv./ GK I 7176

Hendrik Feltman
Heraldic trophee column at 'Kiek in de pot', dated 1654
paper, pen (technique), brown, grey and red wash ? x ? mm
lower right : HFeltman 1654
Berlin, Geheimes Staatsarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz

Hendrik Feltman
Garden seat on the Freudenberg, dated 1654
paper, pen in grey-brown ink, grey and grey-brown wash ? x ? mm
lower left : HFeltman 1654
Berlin, Geheimes Staatsarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz

View of Cleves with the catle seen from Montebello, c. 1670
canvas, oil paint 221,6 x 337,8 cm
Hampton Court Palace (Molesey), Royal Collection - Hampton Court

View of the amphitheater in the 'Tiegarten' Cleves, from the north, c. 1670
canvas, oil paint 221,6 x 353,3 cm
Hampton Court Palace (Molesey), Royal Collection - Hampton Court

Augustin Oldenburgh
The contruction of Charlottenburg Palace in Berlin, 1699
paper, engraving 92 x 176 mm
lower right : Oldenburgh sculp.
Berlin/Potsdam, Stiftung Preussische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg


1 [Van Leeuwen 2017] Jorberg 1966. On Benjamin Raule: Wikipedia.

2 [Van Leeuwen 2017] Seidel 1890, p. 131.

3 [Gerson 1942/1983] Monbijou Castle. [Van Leeuwen 2017] The painting was looted by Russia and removed from the Neues Palais in Potsdam in April 1946 (Bartoschek/Voghtherr 2004, p. 306, No. GK 18695, ill.). On Maddersteeg: De Beer 2002, p. 213-214.

4 [Gerson 1942/1983] Print of Johan Georg Wolfgang (1662-1744) after Maddersteeg.

5 [Gerson 1942/1983] Houbraken 1718-1721, vol. 2, p. 240. [Van Leeuwen 2017] On the Maddersteeg now in Oranienburg: Bartoschek et al. 1994, p. 82-82, ill.; Hinterkeuser 2012, p. 153, ill.

6 [Van Leeuwen 2017] In 1696 De Heusch possibly visited Salzdahlum (see § 4.3.) He might have been in Germany between c. 1695 and c. 1700. On De Heusch (particularly on De Heusch in Italy): Busiri Vici 1997.

7 [Gerson 1942/1983] Houbraken 1718-1721, vol. 3, p. 364.

8 [Van Leeuwen 2017] From Houbraken’s text it is clear the initiative and the contact with Minister von Dankelmann came from Johannes Teyler, who was in Berlin before (in 1676-1678) as a master of fortress-construction for the Elector during the Scanian war as well as a teacher to the young princes (Van Beers 1961, p. 10-12). The negative situation of Dankelmann must have arisen after 6 July 1698, when King Friedrich Wilhelm III still ennobled him as a Count for his services to the development of Prussia.

9 [Van Leeuwen 2017] See § 2.15.

10 [Gerson 1942/1984] Nicolai 1786, p. 59; Welcker 1936, p. 163, ill. [Van Leeuwen 2017] Schulz 1974, p. 71, no. 155, fig. 103.

11 [Gerson 1942/1983] Partey 1863-1864, vol. 2, p. 6.

12 [Van Leeuwen 2017] Sander/Sommer/Bartoschek et al. 2001, p. 259-260, no. 18, ill.

13 [Gerson 1942/1983] Paintings in Monbijou Castle and in Charlottenburg Castle in Berlin. [Van Leeuwen 2017] Bartoschek/Vogtherr 2004, p. 243-244, nos. GK I 1919, ill., GK I 2374, GK I 2835, GK I 3218, ill. And GK 4161.

14 [Van Leeuwen 2017] Seidel 1890, p. 134. On Begheyn’s activity in Germany: Gorissen 1964, p. 77-78.

15 [Van Leeuwen 2017[ The French/Flemish Hugenot tapestry weaver Pierre Mercier (c. 1650-1729), who fled to Berlin with is partner and brother-in-law Jean Barraband I (c. 1650-1709), was commissioned to depict the war achievements of the Great Elector in gobelins after the designs of the brothers Casteels, Rutger van Langevelt and Abraham Begeyn (completed under Friedrich III). The tapestries with the battle of Warsaw and the conquest of Anklam (painted version in the Potsdam military house) unfortunately were lost. The tapestries with the battle of Fehrbellin, the conquests of Wolgast, Stettin, Rügen and Stralsund (dated 1693) and the winter campaign to Königsberg adorned the Berliner Schloss (Gobelin Gallery) until 1946 and are now (2012) in Schloss Oranienburg. Hinterkeuser 2012, p. 42-45.Steinbrucker 1940. Five tapestries of the series were completed before 1699 (Seidel 1891, esp. p. 151). The series of the Great Elector is comparable to the tapestries in Rosenborg Castle, Copenhagen (1684-1692) with the military achievements of King Christian V executed by Berent van der Eichen after Anthonie van Steenwinkel and others (Johansen/Kristiansen 1999). See also RKDimages and J. Roding in Gerson Digital : Denmark (Gerson Extended).

16 [Van Leeuwen 2017] Since 1967 two of these drawings, the village and hunting castle Königswusterhausen, one seen from the north and one from the south, are in the Stadtmuseum Berlin (see .

17 [Van Leeuwen 2017] Börsch-Supan 1964, p. 36-37. Abraham Humbert relates in 1768 that Carrée had to attend hunting parties of the king to make drawing of several situations to use in his paintings, mentioning this work representing corralled deer (Humbert/Heinecken 1768). A ‘mad bull’ that adorned Schloss Charlottenburg is registered at as missing. Also works in several German museums, f.i. the Anton Ulrich Museum, Braunschweig.

18 [Van Leeuwen 2017] Gersons quoted Galland 1893, p. 45. Dattenberg mentions these two drawings in the State Archive in Berlin were missing (Dattenberg 1967, p. 126). Obviously they were found again later: Lemmens 2005, p. 18-19, nos. 15-16, ill. Many more drawings and a painting are known of Cleves, also works of Emmerich, Kranenburg and Duisburg (Lemmens 2005). About the document of 1666: Lemmens 2005, p. 13-14.

19 [Gerson 1942/1983] Seidel 1890, p. 126.

20 [Gerson 1942/1983] Galland 1893, p. 81,194.

21 [Van Leeuwen 2017] The paintings can probably be identified with 'sechs grosse schildereyen, representiren den schonen prospect von der Clevischen situation', which are described in an inventory dated 24 February 1677 of the furnishings belonging to Prince Johan Maurits in the Prinsenhof at Cleves (White 1982, p. 161-164). Dattenberg 1967, p. 268-271.

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