Pierre Mignard, after Hyacinthe Rigaud
54.2 cm x 39.6 cm (21 5/16 in. x 15 9/16 in.)
Georg Friedrich Schmidt
(Schönerlinde (Brandenburg), 1712 - 1775, Berlin)
Medium and Support:
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The Leo Steinberg Collection, 2002
Schmidt was the last major figure in the long tradition of French portrait prints. Following the virtuoso but superficial engravings of early century, and competing with the lively but less substantial etchings of its middle years, Schmidt’s portraits reintegrated brilliant cutting and penetrating characterization. While this combination recalls the work of the founders of the tradition, Nanteuil and Edelinck, his touch was more severe and his surfaces harder. This engraving, after Rigaud’s portrait of the painter Mignard, is considered his masterpiece. It culminated his activity in Paris (1736-44) and won his admission to the Royal Academy. The style of later, governmental engraving for currency and postage stamps derives from the works of Schmidt and his teacher, Wille.