The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of June 26, 2016

Portrait of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, 1715

enamel on copper in a gilt metal frame, Framed: 6.40 x 5.10 cm (2 1/2 x 2 inches); Sight: 5.90 x 4.80 cm (2 5/16 x 1 7/8 inches). The Edward B. Greene Collection 1949.549

Unlike fragile portrait miniatures painted in watercolor on vellum or ivory, which are prone to cracking, fading, and flaking, enamels are resilient, impervious to the effects of light, and retain their striking original colors over time. Partly for this reason enamel was considered ideal for reproducing famous paintings and treasured portraits in a reduced and luminous form. The complicated and labor-intensive process of enameling required the artist to fire numerous layers of colored metal oxide at different temperatures. This process made it difficult to produce a faithful portrait likeness, though masters of the medium were able create portraits of remarkable subtlety imbued with the sitter's personality. The heyday of enamel painting was the late-seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Among the enamel specialists was the German Christian Friedrich Zincke, who worked in England where he was patronized by Queen Anne, King George I, and King George II, the latter a great lover of enamels.

signed on back: CF Zincke fecit/ 1715. [CF in monorgram].

Main Gallery Rotation (Gallery 202): June 20, 2008 - September 22, 2008.

Main European Rotation (Gallery 202), July 23, 2013 - May 20, 2014.

The Cleveland Museum of Art (11/10/2013 - 2/16/2014); "Disembodied: Portrait Minatures and their Contemporary Relatives"

Detail Views