Georg Engelhard Schröder

Georg Engelhard Schröder (born May 31, 1684 in Stockholm, died May 17, 1750 in Stockholm), was a Swedish portrait and history painter. He was famous for his paintings of ambassadors of the Ottoman Empire to the Swedish court: Mustapha Aga in 1727, and Yirmisekizzade Mehmed Said Efendi in 1733. He also painted a portrait of Ulrica Eleanor of Sweden

Georg Engelhard Schröder was the son of the goldsmith Veit Engelhard Schröder (dead 1710) and Lucia Lindemeyer. The father had moved from Nuremberg to Stockholm, around 1670, where Georg Engelhard was born in 1684. This became an early pupil, and later, the son of the painter David von Krafft.

In his early years he studied under the painter David von Krafft (1655–1724), only leaving his studio in 1703 to travel abroad. In the following twenty-one years Schröder visited most of Europe. He began with time in northern Germany before moving to Italy, where he stayed five years in Venice, copying old masters, painting views of the city and coming into contact with the pastellist Rosalba Carriera (1675–1757).

He next moved to Rome, where he was inspired by Baroque artists such as Carlo Dolci (1616–1686), Carlo Maratta (1625–1713) and Francesco Trevisani (1656–1746). He also used a quick and light style of drawing, typical of Italian art of the time. In Paris he gained new impetus and influence from the painter Noël-Nicolas Coypel (1690–1734), before seven years in London, where he was influenced by the portraiture of Godfrey Kneller (1646–1723) and Michael Dahl.

In December 1724, after the death of David von Krafft, Schröder was ordered back to Sweden to take over from his old teacher as court portraitist. Soon afterwards, in 1727, Schröder married Anna Birgitta Spöring. Frederick I of Sweden highly valued Schroder, who produced several portraits of Frederick and his queen Ulrika Eleonora. Around the same time he made two well-known paintings of ambassadors of the Ottoman Empire to the Swedish court: Mustapha Aga in 1727, and Yirmisekizzade Mehmed Said Efendi (later Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire) in 1733.

In the 1740s Sweden was reached by the new French flavor, primarily through the artist Gustaf Lundberg, with Schröder coming to the side. He represented in the Swedish 18th century the last period of Italian influence.

“However, preserved history paintings such as Apelles and Campasbe or religious topics such as Susanna with the boys show that S could never live up to his Italian or French role models because of an overly characteristic drawing and naive dramaturgy. The great masters’ lofty allegories and history paintings that S depicted were transformed in this way into pleasing and banal compositions. Best is maybe Schröder in a number of portraits of contemporary greats … ”
– Magnus Olausson

In 1745 Schröder was appointed an advisor at court and he amassed a moderate fortune from all the commissions he gained. In the 1740s Gustaf Lundberg (1695–1786) brought a new French-influenced style to Sweden and demand for Schroder’s worked dropped – this meant he was one of the last 18th-century Swedish painters whose predominant influence was Italian art. One of his most notable pupils was Alexander Roslin (1718–1793).


Fredrik I, King of Sweden The Royal Armoury, Sweden
This is a state portrait showing the King in full-length. On his head a white whig with long ringlets. He is dressed in a light blue costume embroidered with white decorations. The royal mantle in purple has an ermine cape over the shoulders, his right hand rests on the hip while pointing with his left hand to the regalia (not the Swedish ones); the orb, sceptre and crown laying on a red velvet cushion on a heavily ornamented table. Among these ornaments the Swedish and the Hesse coats of arms. Behind him the silver throne of Queen Christina can be distinguished.
It´s not possible to date the painting more exactly than from the period after Schröder’s return in 1724 and up to the 1740s, when his style became more and more outdated. More of comparable studies of the motive is needed.

Kozbekçi Mustafa Ağa and his Retinue Pera Museum
Following Tsar Peter the Great’s victory over Sweden in 1709, Sweden’s King Charles XII took refuge in the Ottoman Empire. The king having incurred a great deal of debt while in the Ottoman Empire, Kozbekçi Mustafa Ağa was sent to Stockholm in 1727 to collect these debts. Even though Mustafa Ağa returned after fifteen months without having succeeded in the collecting the debts, he and his retinue consisting of twenty-three people were received with all honours. His portrait was painted by Schröder, court painter of Frederic I. The bejewelled dagger on the belt of Mustafa Ağa, who has been depicted in his ermine kaftan together with three people of his retinue, is particularly noteworthy. Almost like a template, figures of the ambassador’s retinue are repeated in the painting titled “Mehmet Said Efendi and his Retinue” of the artist which is also in the exhibition.

Mehmed Said Efendi and his Retinue Pera Museum
Mehmet Said Efendi, who in this picture has been depicted together with his retinue of fourteen people, was sent to Sweden as ambassador four years after Kozbekçi Mustafa Ağa, with mission of collecting the debt of Charles XII to the Ottoman state. Mehmet Said Efendi is visible in the centre of the composition. From his Sefaretname (diary of his ambassadorship) we learn that he was received by the king with majestic ceremonies but that he had to return without having been able to collect the debt. The matter was solved when Sweden promised to support the Ottomans in their war with the Russians and a warship was given by the Swedes as payment for the debt.

Hedwig-Eleonora Church, Stockholm: Crucifixion, 1738
Drottningholm Palace Church, Uppland: The Last Supper
German Church, Stockholm: The Last Supper
Norrtälje Church, Uppland: The Last Supper
Mariefred Church, Södermanland: several paintings
Överenhörna Church, Södermanland: Altarpiece, 1736
Uppsala University, Uppland: John the Baptist Preaching
Gothenburg Museum of Art, Göteborg: Apelles Painting Venus
Nationalmuseum, Stockholm: The Four Elements
Drottningholm Palace, Uppland: The Three Graces
Stockholm University: A Small Allegory on the Estates of the Swedish Kingdom
Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts, Stockholm: Self portrait, 1729