Anna Dorothea Therbusch-Lisiewska

Prussian, 1721-1782

Looking out at you from this painting, Anna Dorothea turns her head toward the future in an exalted expression of freedom. The confidence that she exudes is that of a woman in her forties who has put off her career in order to raise children, and when this responsibility is finished she is able to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming an artist. Even though she had to wait, Anna Dorothea quickly became known as a skilled painter who was sought after as a portrait artist in the French and Prussian courts. In Jane’s painting, the images behind Anna Dorothea are those of a bacchante and a satyr. Like many artists in the 18th century, Anna Dorothea sought membership in the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in Paris. Her membership was denied when academicians proclaimed her brushstrokes and tonalities to be so deft that a woman could not possibly have made them.

Jordanna Pomeroy, ed., An Imperial Collection: Women Artists from the State Hermitage Museum (London: Merrell LTD, 2003), 171.

Original Works Referenced

Self-portrait
1761
Stuttgart
Staatsgalerie

Bacchante
1765-1769
St. Petersburg
State Hermitage Museum

Dionysus
1765-1769
St. Petersburg
State Hermitage Museum