Portrait of Zdenek Czernin

František Tkadlík

František Tkadlík - Portrait of Zdenek Czernin
A work that stands out in the series of portraits of the Czernin children is the Portrait of Zdenek Czernin from 1824. This is a variation on Tkadlík’s favourite theme of a sleeping child, a definitive representation associated with the actual subject - a post-mortem portrait, which however has the consequential result of much less lightness and life than his minor sketches of the same motif. It is no coincidence that the drawing of Zdenek Czernin is somewhat reminiscent of Tkadlík’s Portrait of Paulina Schönburg on Her Deathbed, which dates to 1821. They share not only the similar position of the depicted subject and comparable colours, but mainly the overall atmosphere of the drawing. In both cases, death is present only in the form of the immeasurable tranquillity veiling the faces of the portrayed, who look ’as if they are only sleeping’. At the same time, this timeless tranquillity washes away their individual features, which succumb to the idealising nature of both compositions despite the artist's apparent attempt at portrait characterisation.
measurements: height 237 mm
width 336 mm
material: paper
technique: coloured chalk
inventory number: K 41922
gallery collection: Collection of Prints and Drawings