May 2022

Susanna Maria von Sandrart

Portrait of Gabrielle Carola Patin, ca. 1682

Etching, pencil, pen and ink

24.4 cm x 18.0 cm


TIB Slg. A. Haupt, kl. D. GR. 63 (2)

The print shows a half-figure portrait of a young woman in an oval field. Her hands rest on a balustrade and lightly touch the roses placed there. She is standing outdoors and is backed by the lower part of a building on the right, while an adjoining garden with a fountain opens up on the left. A peacock poses on the corner ledge of the house. Around the etched portrait runs the inscription of the sitter's name, executed in pencil. The decorative framing, also in pencil, fills the pictorial space up to the edge of the plate in an endless line with scrolls and loops and defines two further fields of inscription above and below the portrait. 

Depicted is Gabrielle Charlotte Patin (b. 1666), daughter of Charles Patin (1633-1693), a French physician and numismatist who taught at the University of Padua and gave his two daughters a varied humanistic education. The verses praising the spirit, eloquence and grace of the young woman were selected or written Johann Georg Volkamer the Elder (1616-1693), also a physician and natural scientist in Padua among other places, who concludes the dedication "Mem[oriae] monu[mentum] erect[um] à Joh. Georgio Volckamero" with "Acad[emiae] Nat[urae] cur[osorum] Heliantho", his pseudonym as a member of the Leopoldina.

This print is an intermediate product of the creation process, which consists of several operations. The impression shows a state in which initially only the central portrait medallion was etched into the plate. The framing decoration up to the edge of the plate is carried out only in this next step. Auxiliary lines lead along the axes and diagonals and determine the symmetrical arrangement of the inscription fields and the decoration. The smudged areas and doubling of the thin letter lines show the repeated correcting of the lettering. The dedication in the lower field of the picture is executed in ink and was probably added last. It could have been written by Volkamer himself.

The final version of this composition, which was executed entirely as an etching, has survived in numerous collections, e.g. at the HAB Wolfenbüttel, and finally also bears the address of the executing artist and the year of creation: "Susanna Maria Jacobi Sandrarti filia effigiem hanc fecit Ao.1682".

As a member of the famous family of artists and publishers, Susanna Maria von Sandrart (1658-1716), daughter of Jakob (1630-1708) and niece of Joachim von Sandrart (1606-1688), worked in her parents' business as a young woman. In 1683 she married the painter Johann Paul Auer (1638-1687). From her own writings we know that she regretted not being able to pursue the activities of drawing, engraving and etching as a married woman. The present sheet was created about a year before her marriage to Auer. When he died after only four years of marriage, she was able to resume her work. A few productive years followed until she entered into her second marriage with the Nuremberg printer Wolfgang Moritz Endter (1653-1723) in 1695.

Birte Rubach