Frederik VI as prince
Frederik VI when a prince; oval, painted by Jens Juel.
Statuette of bronzed gypsum
The statuette of bronzed gypsym portrays king Frederik VI. The military dressing, that marks the king´s appearance on several paintings in this room, is also present with this artifact. The figurine is made in 1810 a time of a deep political crisis in Denmark-Norway in the wake of the Napoleonic Wars. The crisis culminateed with the state bankruptcy of 1813 and the loss of Norway the following year. Those years have been stamped by war and crisis and hence the king is dressed in the uniform of the Royal Life Guard and holds his left hand on the saber, seeking support from the weapon.
Frederik VI, 1794
This portrait of the Crown Prince is the earliest known of Frederik (VI) without a wig. The Crown Prince’s natural hair is, however, powdered and combed back. At the end of the 18th century fashion too had been influenced by the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s radical thinking about the natural. Therefore, wigs, big hairstyles, tight bodice dresses, and richness of detail in clothing were being replaced by a simpler style. The portrait was painted in 1794, and the Crown Prince wears a blue admiral’s uniform. There is uncertainty about whether Jens Juel painted this portrait himself. The great interest in being portrayed by the popular artist meant that he had to get assistance to complete the many commissions. His workshop was for the same reason known as Juel’s ‘portrait factory’ by sharp tongues of the time.
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.
Crown Princess Marie and Princess Caroline in Frederiksberg Gardens
Jens Juel painted the Crown Princess with her daughter around 1800. At that time he had been the court portrait painter for 20 years and had painted most of the members of the Royal Family several times. Crown Princess Marie had been portrayed in a more than two metre high painting eight years earlier, while Juel had painted her husband, the later Frederik VI, shortly before his confirmation in 1783. In Juel’s paintings grace is united with realistic depictions. The representation of the country’s Crown Princess walking on her flat feet in a garden without status symbols would have been unthinkable a few decades earlier. With the French Revolution came a liberation of the arts, which Juel had witnessed during his many years travelling abroad, and he was therefore able to live up to the, for the time, modern demands and expectations of art, which were also emerging in Denmark. Interest in the private sphere, family bonds, and the freer expression granted to children were tendencies that were popular at the time and are depicted in the painting. C Zeuthen depicted Frederik VI’s study and bedchamber in a watercolour in 1840 following the king’s death. In the watercolour Juel’s painting can be seen hanging on the wall behind the king’s bed. His white writing desk can be seen on the left of the picture. Today it is part of the Royal Danish Collection and can be seen in room 16 at Rosenborg. The painting was purchased by Rosenborg in 2015 with support from Augustinus Fonden, Ny Carlsbergfondet, and the Danish Ministry of Culture.