In this three-quarter length portrait, Charles XII of Sweden presents himself as a bold, warrior-king. He wears a deep blue coat with gold buttons, a long pale yellow tunic and matching gloves, the Swedish ‘Carolinian’ military uniform. His head is turned slightly to the left, his body to the right. The King’s left hand holds his sword and a cocked hat is held under his left arm, while his right hand rests on a table, upon which is his crown.
David von Krafft was of German birth. During and after the 30 Years' War, many German painters, suffering with an impoverished clientele, chose to emigrate. In 1675 Krafft’s uncle, German painter David Klöcker Ehrenstrahl (1628-1698), brought him to Sweden as a pupil. Krafft became a court painter in 1698 and rose to be a leading portraitist in Sweden. His pupils included Swedish portraitist Hans Hysing (1678-1752/3). Krafft remained in Sweden, suffering the hardships of war during and immediately after the reign of Charles XII.
Collection of Reverend Andrew Planta (1717-1773; his son, Joseph 1744-1827, was Principal Librarian - i.e. Director - at the British Museum); by whom presented to British Museum on 2 April 1763; from whom purchased by the Ministry of Works in 1946
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