unknown author, 4th quarter of 18th century
technique: oil, canvas, wooden frame
dimensions: 48 x 38 cm
Origin: unknown; listed in the Inventory of the Middle Castle in Malbork from 1894 (Grand Masters Palace, Królewiecka Hall), in general and imprecise information about the 11 portraits of great masters and electors.
Recorded in photographs taken around 1895 (photo by Theodor Kuhn from Gdańsk, in the collection of the Gdańsk Museum) and around 1930 (photo by Fritz Krauskopf from Królewiec, reproduced on postcards).
The painting shows the Grand Master of the German Order in a bust view (photo 1.). The imaginary portrait of Plauen was most likely an image that introduced a change in the tradition of depicting this highest dignitary of the German order, established since the 16th century. The great master in a white coat with a cross on his left shoulder was shown without a headdress, which was a deviation from traditional iconography, with long, slightly curly hair falling over his shoulders. A characteristic feature is also the girdling of the breast portrayed with a ribbon on which a cross is hung in the form used in the order from the 18th century.
This lost, anonymous image of Plauen was most likely an inspiration for an anonymous cartoonist who repeated this image in a slightly modified form (the addition of a hand holding a glove). This composition was reproduced in the form of lithography (photo 2) by L.A. Zimmerman from Dresden (from around 1840), published many times in various publishing houses throughout the second half of the Today, it is an additional iconographic source that can help in finding this canvas.
(by B. Butryn)