Exhibition: In search of Sophia


The painting collection of Brukenthal Museum holds no less than five portraits of Baron Samuel von Brukenthal, but only one portrait of his wife, Sophia Katharina. Sophia`s portrait and one of the baron`s representation were painted in pendant, an artistic solution that succesfully depicts the spouses’ individuality, without losing the unifying pattern that illustrates marriage.

Von Brukenthals portraits

Von Brukenthals portraits show unity in both colour and composition. One notice the chromatic primary similarity in the contrast made by the red attires on the dark green of the background; it is completed by the secondary accents of the greenish blue tabletop paralleled by the green sewing box.
Both paintings have triangular compositions, the subjects are represented in three-quarters view and light accents fall on the faces and on the hand in the foreground. Nevertheless, one easily notices the difference between the statue-like pose of Baron Samuel von Brukenthal and Sophia Katharina’s dynamic gestures – the hair pin thrusted in the silk covering the jewelry box and the left hand lifted towards the heart.
The masculine – feminine correspondences are obvious: the decoration of the Hungarian Royal Order St. Stephen together with the ring with Empress Maria Theresa’s monogram on one hand and the opulent pearl jewelries on the other or the document and ink pot in Samuel’s portrait against the sewing box in Sophia’s.
Beyond the well-known patterns, this complementarity depicts an encoded message: the association between power and wealth, leading towards the personal history of each member of the couple, a long time back, before the two portraits were painted.