Arts & Culture

The Queen Dowager Juliane Marie

Vigilius Eriksen1776

Statens Museum for Kunst
Statens Museum for Kunst

Juliane Marie was the second wife of King Frederic 5. After her husband’s death she saw her position at the Danish court becoming marginalised by count Struensee, whose position as physician-in-ordinary to the mad King Christian 7. made him the de facto ruler of Denmark during the first few years of the 1770s.

She became one of the driving forces behind a coup against Struensee in 1772, the same year that Vigilius Eriksen from the Russian court received the commission for this portrait of her.

A picture within the picture

Up until 1771 Eriksen was a court painter in St. Petersburg, and one of the portraits dating from this period gives us the key to his rendition of Juliane Marie. In both works, the artist painted a picture within the picture:

In the Russian portrait a mirror image acts as a commentary on the frontal rendition of the Russian queen, whereas Juliane Marie is shown here pointing to a dark bust of her late husband, providing an effective contrast to her own figure, dressed all in white.

Juliane Marie's position of power

The ties between the queen and the bust concern the basis for Juliane Marie’s revived position of power after the recent coup. The dowager queen towers majestically, accentuated by the worm’s eye view, and this majesty is justified by her recent past as the king’s wife.

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Details

  • Title: The Queen Dowager Juliane Marie
  • Creator: Vigilius Eriksen
  • Date Created: 1776
  • Værktekst: Juliane Marie var kong Frederik 5.s anden ægtefælle. Efter sin mands død måtte hun i 1770’ernes begyndelse se sin position ved det danske hof marginaliseret af grev Struensee, som i sin egenskab af livlæge for den sindssyge Christian 7. de facto regerede landet i årtiets første par år. Hun blev en hovedkraft bag et kup mod Struensee inden for embedsstanden i 1772, samme år som Vigilius Eriksen fra det russiske hof modtog bestilling på dette portræt af hende. Billedet i billedet Eriksen havde indtil 1771 fungeret som hofmaler i Skt. Petersborg, og et af portrætterne herfra fungerer som nøgle til fremstillingen af Juliane Marie. Kunstneren har nemlig begge steder malet et billede i billedet: I portrættet fra Rusland fungerer et spejlbillede som en kommentar til fremstillingen af den frontalt vendte russiske dronning, mens Juliane Marie her peger på en mørk buste af sin afdøde mand, som står i effektfuld kontrast til hendes egen hvidklædte skikkelse. Juliane Maries magtposition Forholdet mellem dronningen og busten drejer sig om begrundelsen for Juliane Maries fornyede magtposition ved det danske hof efter det nylige kup. Enkedronningens majestætiske skikkelse tårner sig op i maleriets frøperspektiv, og den henter sin magt og vældes legitimitet fra hendes nære fortid som kongens hustru.
  • Teknik: Olie på lærred
  • Proveniens: Køb 1934
  • Provenance: Acquired 1934
  • Physical Dimensions: w194 x h284 cm (Without frame)
  • Dansk link: http://www.smk.dk/index.php?id=1165
  • Dansk Titel: Enkedronning Juliane Marie
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Statens Museum for Kunst, http://www.smk.dk/en/copyright/creative-commons/
  • External Link: Statens Museum for Kunst
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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