Actor dressed as an 18th cent. soldier
  • Franz Skarbina
  • Berlin 1849 - 1910
  • Actor dressed as an 18th cent. soldier, 1880
  • Watercolour on paper
  • signed and dated with brush: F. Skarbina / 1880
  • 308 × 221 mm
Antiquarian Hans Marcus, Düsseldorf

That Franz Skarbina was concerned with far more than a true-to-detail representation of his models’ outward appearances is particularly evident when one recognizes shadows as a recurring element in his watercolour sheets. Even the Portrait of a Baroque Foot Soldier gains an almost pictorial effect, imparted by the shadow cast by the model himself. Skarbina sets a delightful scene on this sheet, particularly with the inter-play between the soft fabric and metallic harness. The luminous accents in this portrait of a soldier in his magnificent uniform, ranging from the armor to the knee stockings, reveal the artist as an excellent colourist; but the strangely diffuse shadow in the background also invite the viewer to reflect upon striking appearance and actual presence. Even the most dazzling apparition – Skarbina likes to give the viewer pause in this way – remains, by its very nature, transitory.