Emanuel Listnau

The drawing features the portrait of one of the Enlightenment rulers of Europe: Frederick the Great, the king of Prussia, who alongside Catherine II partitioned Poland and used to call Polish nobility ‘the Iroquois’. What makes this drawing unique is the fact that compositional contours of the man and the horse are not made of drawn lines, but inscriptions. This extraordinary visual text is the work Emanuel Listnau, a tailor from Gdansk who gained renown in his home town, as well as Berlin and Konigsberg, as a graphic artist and calligrapher. The presented drawing is one of the examples of the artist’s portraits of prominent personalities. So far, the text featured on this print has not been deciphered in full.

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