Johann Baptist Reiter

(Last Updated On May 31, 2022)

Austrian painter Johann Baptist Reiter found success as a portraitist in the Biedermeier era, which somewhat overlapped Neoclassicism. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, and then got his start painting porcelain, doing a few paintings in between. After winning the Lampi-Preis for an exhibited work, he switched to doing paintings pretty much exclusively, building up his career with genre pieces and then portraits.

What’s interesting about this piece is that it is quite an informal pose, a rarity for the period. I’ve seen plenty of photographs of children in similar poses, and even a few more contemporary paintings and illustrations, but this may be the earliest example of this pose in a painted portrait. Face propped upon one arm, the girl wears a somewhat bored expression. You can easily picture her swinging her feet back and forth as she waits for Herr Reiter to hurry up and finish painting her portrait so she can go outside and play.

Johann Baptist Reiter – Die zernagte Puppe (1845)

4 thoughts on “Johann Baptist Reiter

    • I almost did, but I really wasn’t sure about the translations I had read. It seemed like one of those German words that doesn’t quite translate into English.

      • I did a bit more digging on it, and all I can say is that Google Translate can be weird sometimes. One of the meanings it gave for the German verb “zernagen” is “cerning”.
        There is no such English word listed on dictionary websites,
        except for CERN as an acronym with various meaning that obviously do not pertain here.

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