Jacobus Schmitz - Portrait of a Knight of the Teutonic Order, possibly Ferdinand Caspar Freiherr von Kleist
Portrait of a Knight of the Teutonic Order, possibly Ferdinand Caspar Freiherr von Kleist
Oil on canvas (relined). 82.5 x 65.5 cm.
Signed and dated lower left: J. Schmitz P. Ao 1770.
Ferdinand Caspar von Kleist (1729-1812) came from a family originating in Pomerania but who produced several officers for the Cologne Electoral army in the 18th century. Ferdinand Caspar also pursued a military career in the comparatively modest electoral army after working as a page at the court of the Cologne Elector Clemens August. He also became a knight of the Teutonic Order in 1768, and the present work depicts him with their insignia. The proud knight is here portrayed by Johann Jakob Schmitz, an artist who joined the Cologne painter's guild in 1759 and was also a court painter for Electors Max Friedrich and Max Franz since at least 1768. The present work is an interesting document in the history of the Electorate of Cologne, which was extinguished in 1803.