Georg Friedrich Kersting (Born 31 October 1785 in Güstrow, Dead July 1, 1847 in Meißen), was a German painter. He was one of the most important representatives of the Biedermeier interior painting. His paintings nevertheless feel contemporary due to the situations depicted and the effect of the artist’s personality.
Kersting was a friend of Caspar David Friedrich, the leading German Romantic painter; his style was influenced by Friedrich, and he shared that artist’s romantic attitude, although in a more subjective manner.
Kersting was born in a small half-timbered house of the Hollstraße as the son of a child-sized glazemaster in the Güstrower craftsman’s workshop. He visited the Domschule Güstrow. Presumably his father gave him first lessons in painting. Thanks to the support of wealthy relatives, he was able to take a three-year course from 1804 or 1805 at the prestigious Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, where Nicolai Abildgaard and Christian August Lorentzen were his teachers, but they had little influence on him. On the other hand, he was apparently impressed by the painting style of Jens Juel. Then he went to Dresden to enroll at the local art academy.
In Dresden, he found a connection to a circle, including Gerhard von Kügelgen, Theodor Körner, the painter Louise Seidler and Caspar David Friedrich. In 1809 he spent a short time in Rostock, where two views of the city arose. In 1810 he was again in Dresden, from where he and his friend Caspar David Friedrich undertook a hike into the Riesengebirge. From 1811 he taught the children of publisher and bookmaker Carl Friedrich Ernst Frommann, whom he portrayed many years later.
He achieved first successes with interiors of studios of his friends, especially with a picture of Friedrich in his studio, which he exhibited in 1811 in the academy exhibition. In 1813, the Weimar court, at the suggestion of Goethe, bought the “man at the secretary” and the first version of the “Stickerin”. The painting, which is particularly typical for Kersting, shows Louise Seidler sitting at the window with a handwork. Goethe had been drawn to Kersting and his oppressed position by Louise Seidler, which is why Goethe organized a lottery in favor of Kersting. Through their income, the “elegant reader” could also be purchased. The lot fell on Louise Seidler’s father, who later sold the picture to the ducal collection.
After the defeat of Napoleon in Russia in 1812, the national forces in Germany gained a voice, so that finally the Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm III. On February 3, 1813, gave his consent to the formation of freikorps.
Kersting, too, who had been a member of the Körgelgens and Körner’s parents, had been politicized. He therefore joined the Lützower Corps, where the kirolgens and the painters Caspar David Friedrich and Ferdinand Hartmann provided him with the means for Kersting to buy a tan. For this reason, he also holds a bag in his hand on a self-portrait as a Lützower hunter. He participated in various battles against the Napoleonic troops, distinguished himself by bravery in the Battle of the Gohrde, and received the Iron Cross for his mission, which can also be seen in another self-portrait from the time.
After the end of the liberation war Kersting returned to Dresden in 1814/15. In the year 1815 also pictures emerged, reminding the comrades killed in the war. Heinrich Hartmann (lying, left), Theodor Körner (sitting, middle) and Friedrich Friesen (standing, right) as Lützower Jäger in a piece of prototypical German oak wood. All three were killed in 1813/14. The picture shows them calmly and thoughtfully, far away from all battles.
The counterpart to Outpost is The Kranzwinderin. It shows a girl sitting in the oak forest, waving from Eichenzweigen a wreath, which may be used for the recollection of German heroes. At their feet is a brook. The names Hartmann, Körner and Friesen are cut into the oak trunks behind the girl.
Kersting, however, found it very difficult to find an artist in Dresden, which had been greatly taken with the war. Therefore, from the beginning of 1816 to 1818 he worked as a teacher for the children of the Princess Anna Zofia Sapieha in Warsaw. During this time, the second version of the sticker, as well as the couple at the window, was created.
On June 23, 1818, Kersting was appointed painter of the Royal Saxon Porcelain Manufactory in Meissen, where he remained active until his lifetime. At that time the manufactory was in a deep crisis, both in terms of technical procedures and the design and alignment of the products in demand. These problems had been directed since 1814 under the direction of Heinrich Gottlieb Kühn, in particular with regard to the production process.
in the 1830s, these difficulties had been overcome, and in the 1840s the Meissner porcelain gained a high reputation again, at least some of it was Kersting’s merit. One of the requirements at the beginning of his activity was less the design of luxury porcelain, but of mass porcelain of high quality, with a uniformity of form and decor striven for. This was achieved by the “Meißner Rose” decor, which was introduced at the time of Kersting.
By his appointment as a painter, Kersting, with an annual salary of 400 Reichsstalern and 200 talers, lived for the first time in economically secure circumstances, which enabled him to marry and found a family.
In 1822 he created Apollo with the hours, a painting with Masonic themes. He had already been admitted to the Freemason lodge Phoebus Apoll in Güstrow as an apprentice as early as 1809, then just 24 years old. In the meantime, he had been elevated to the “Master” and took the opportunity to thank for the friendship he had shown with a painting that had the specific symbolism of the Lodge.
In addition, during this period, several interior designers, such as Young Woman, sewing at the light of a lamp (1825), In front of the mirror (1827), and a third version of the embroiderer (1827). The late works also include some excursions in the area of historical painting, Such as Faust in the Study Room (1829), which are perhaps based on the inspiration of his son Hermann Karl Kersting, as well as the flowering moments associated with his professional activity. Again and again he painted his children and his environment, B. Am Meissner Schloßkeller, a genre scene from the Albrechtsburg, in which the porcelain manufactory was once housed.
He had married Agnes Sergel in 1818, the daughter of the Dresden court minister, who gave him four children, the daughter Annchen beside the sons Ernst, Richard and Hermann. The early deceased Hermann Karl Kersting (1825-1850) was a historian and landscape painter. He had attended the Dresdner Kunstakademie and was a student of Eduard Bendemann and Julius Schnorr of Carolsfeld. He and his brother Richard received two small paintings, which Kersting made in 1843, when Richard went to Riga to perform a position as a chemist. His son Hermann Kersting (1863-1937) was known as an African explorer.
Georg Friedrich Kersting was a member of the freemason lodge Phoebus Appollo in Güstrow. He died in 1847 at the age of 61 years.
Initially influenced by the art of Caspar David Friedrich, Kersting soon turned to interior painting. He created Biedermeier scenes, which as a rule show only a single person, who is mostly close to the artist and sunk into his activity, in a confined space. Typical for the artist is the play with the light that either comes through a window (stickerin at the window) or from a lamp emanates (Young woman, sewing at the light of a lamp, The elegant reader). Kersting is well-known for the motif of the sticker in the window created in several versions, but in the 1830s and 1840s also created portraits, landscapes and histories.