Christian VII, 1789
Portrait of Christian VII in his coronation robes. Painted by Jens Juel, 1789. Believed to be schizophrenic which meant that the path was clear for a coup d’ etat started by Struense, his own personal doctor who on top of everything else had an affair with the queen.
At the time of this picture the french revolution was underway, and even though this picture portrais an ever vigilant king, it was in reality his successor crown prince Frederik (VI), who in 1784 had gained control of the country, that held all power.
In this portrait Princess Louise Augusta wears a brown dress with lace pleats along the square neckline and on the sleeves. She is decorated with Christian VII’s order, consisting of brilliants on a blue ribbon with silver and a red edge. The flowers are typical of the age’s focus on all things natural, and exemplifies that Jens Juel’s work in the portrait genre also reflected the evolution of society. His earliest portraits were partly characterised by the opulence of the rococo, while his later work distances itself from it, and the portraits become gradually more naturalistic. Juel was influenced by a bourgeois realism which was, however, adapted and toned down in step with his circle of customers being widened to society’s upper echelons.
Christian VII, wearing a powdered wig with three puffs and a black ribbon at the neck, observes the viewer in this portrait painted by Jens Juel. The King’s left hand rests on a table, on which a black hat is also placed. He wears a red jacket and a yellow waistcoat with a gold ribbon, and is furthermore decorated with the Order of the Elephant as well as rapier at his side. Placing the king in naturalistic surroundings was typical of Jens Juel’s style, the inspiration for which he had found during a stay in Switzerland. The idea was that the person portrayed should be painted in his or her usual surroundings, and not among lofty clouds, as was characteristic of the rococo.
Frederik VI, 1781
Frederik VI as Crown Prince, portrayed by Jens Juel. Frederik wears a green jacket with gold embroidery, a lace shirt frill, a low powdered wig tied at the neck with a black ribbon, and holds a black hat under his left arm. The portrait is one of the many Jens Juel made of the royal family. The majority of the thousand portraits he produced stem from after 1780, and the portraits at Rosenborg can also be dated to this period. Jens Juel’s early clients were the bourgeoisie, but once he attained greater recognition for his work the circle of customers widened and came to consist primarily of the nobility and the royal family.