Georg Friedrich Kersting 

Portait of Georg Friedrich Kersting

Georg Friedrich Kersting was a German painter best known for his Biedermeier-style interior paintings. He was born on 31st October 1785 in Gustrow, Germany and died on1st July 1847 in Meissen, Germany aged 61.

Major Works

“The Embroiderer” (1813)
On Sentry Duty at the Outpost” (1815)
“Caspar David Friedrich in his Studio” (1819)
“Portrait of Niccolò Paganini” (1829)

Biography Timeline

Georg Friedrich Kersting was born on 31st October 1785 in Gustrow, Northeast Germany. His father was a glazier and the family were quite poor.

1805: He enters the academy of art in Copenhagen, Denmark and is heavily influenced by the clear style of the Danish School. He is awarded a silver medal in draughtsmanship.

1808: After leaving art school he moves to Dresden in Germany and begins to specialise in paintings of interiors in which his sitter is placed.

1810: He has become friendly with the painter Caspar David Friedrich and in July the two go on a walking tour through the Zittau Mountains and the Riesengebirge (literally “Giant Mountains” situated in the north of the Czech Republic). They both paint numerous sketches and observations from nature and it is thought likely that Kersting painted the figures in Friedrich’s “Morning in the Riesengebirge”.

1811: He is also a close friend of the painter Gerhard von Kügelgen and stays with him at his house on numerous occasions. He paints a portrait of him in his studio.

1812: He paints “The Embroiderer”, “The Elegant Reader” and “Man at a Desk” which uses the painter Louise Seidler as a model.

1813: Seidler helps him send several of his paintings to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in Weimar. Goethe is impressed and recommends that the Grand Duke Charles Augustus buys “The Embroiderer” and he also encourages other sales by promoting a lottery. Kersting joins the volunteer Lützowsches Freikorps (Lutzow Free Corps) to try to help the Prussian Army expel Napoleon Bonaparte’s forces from Germany. He completes a full-length self-portrait wearing his uniform. He serves with the poet Karl Theodor Korner in the regiment.

1814: He moves to Poland and is employed as a drawing master. He paints “Man reading by Lamplight”.

1815: He paints “On Sentry Duty at the Outpost” which shows three rangers, including the artist Ferdinand Hartmann and Karl Theodor Korner (the latter was sadly killed in battle in 1813). He also paints “The Wreath Maker” and “Couple at the Window”.

1817: He paints “Embroidery Woman”.

1818: He returns to Meissen in Germany where he gets a job as the chief artist at the famous porcelain factory where he will work for the rest of his life. He becomes notable for painting the flowers on their models but also continues to paint oils on canvas. He marries and goes on to have four children.

1819: He paints Caspar David Freidrich in his Studio” which is very popular when it is exhibited at the Dresden Kunstakademie. 

1827: He paints “At the Mirror”.

1829: His “Portrait of Niccolò Paganini is said to completed in this year.

Georg Friedrich Kersting died on 1st July 1847 in Meissen. Germany and was buried in the city.

Further Information

Complete list of the works of Kersting.