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Relief kurfurstlich fraulein Sophia Eleonore - The Kurfürstlich Fräulein, Sophia Eleonore of Saxony
  • The Kurfürstlich Fräulein, Sophia Eleonore of Saxony
    Kellerthaler, Daniel, born 1574 - died 1648
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The Kurfürstlich Fräulein, Sophia Eleonore of Saxony

  • Object:

    Relief kurfurstlich fraulein Sophia Eleonore

  • Place of origin:

    Dresden (made)

  • Date:

    1611 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Kellerthaler, Daniel, born 1574 - died 1648 (sculptor)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Europe 1600-1815, Room 6, The Lisa and Bernard Selz Gallery, case CA13

This charming portrait depicts the two year old Sophia Eleonore of Saxony, eldest child of John George I, Elector of Saxony. She was born in Dresden in 1609. This wax relief is marked with the monogram of the court goldsmith, seal engraver and medallist Daniel Kellerthaler (1574-1648). This is an unusual example of his work, as he is mainly known for portrait medals, usually oval in format. These medals were, of course, cast from wax models, so his activity as a wax modeller is firmly established. This portrait probably formed part of a series, and would either have been intended as a gift, or as a dynastic embellishment to the collection of portraits of the Elector himself.

Physical description

The two year old Kurfürstlich Fräulein, Sophia Eleonore of Saxony, is represented as part of an indoor scene, standing beside a table covered with tablecloth on which is a birdcage and a bird perched on the edge of a plate filled with fruit. The girl has her right hand stretched out to the plate. A vase with flowers is also on the table. On the right hand side of the composition is a dog.

Place of Origin

Dresden (made)


1611 (made)


Kellerthaler, Daniel, born 1574 - died 1648 (sculptor)

Materials and Techniques


Marks and inscriptions

German: 'Electoral Princess of Saxony, Princess Sophia Eleonore, 1611, D[aniel] K[ellerthaler].'


Height: 20.6 cm, Width: 17.3 cm, Depth: 3 cm with frame

Object history note

The little girl portrayed here aged two is Sophia Eleonore (1609-1671), eldest daughter of Johann Georg I of Saxony (1585-1656). Sophia Eleonore was born into the highest level of Saxon nobility. Her father was Albertine Elector of Saxony, one of seven rulers permitted to elect the Emperor of a confederation of the Holy Roman Empire. This portrait was executed when she was just two years old. Later in life, she would become Landgravine of Hesse-Darmstadt when she married Georg II, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt, in 1627.

Nothing is known of the early owners of the plaque, although as Daniel Kellerthaler (whose monogram appears beneath the date) was court goldsmith, it was probably commissioned by a member of Sophia's family, perhaps as a gift or as part of a series of commemorative wax portraits intended for the Elector's collection of treasures and curiosities. No other image of her in wax is known, but a medal made two years before her marriage in 1625 survives.

Descriptive line

Relief, wax, of the Kurfürstlich Fräulein, Sophia Eleonore of Saxony, by Daniel Kellerthaler, German (Dresden), 1611

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Holzhausen, Walter. Die Medaillen des Daniel Kellerthaler. Zeitschrift für Numismatik. 1926, vol. XXXVI pp. 238-248.
Forrer, Leonard. Biographical Dictionary of Medallists, 8 vols, London: Spink & Son, 1902-30.
Pyke, E. J. A Biographical Dictionary of Wax Modellers (Supplement), London: The Author, 1981. ISBN 0950751804.
Holzhausen, Walter and Erna von Watzdorf. Brandenburgisch-Sächsische Wachsplastik des XVI Jahurhunderts: Studien aus den Kunstkammern in Berlin und Dresden. Jahrbuch der preussischen Kunstsammlungen 1931, vol. 52, pp. 235-57.
Watanabe O'Kelly, Helen. Court Culture in Dresden from Renaissance to Baroque. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2002.
Schade, Werner. Dresdener Zeichnungen, 1550 bis 1650. Inventionen sächsischer Künstler in europäischen Sammlungen. Dresden: Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen, Kupferstich-Kabinett, 1969.
Auβlegung Des Churf. Sachss. Fewerwercks Welches auff dem Fürstlichen Hessischen Beylager zu Torgaw im Monat Aprilis diβ 1627. Jahrs præsentiret worden.

Kurzel-Runtscheiner, Monica. Glanzvolles Elend. Die Inventare der Herzogin Jacobe von Jülich-Kleve-Berg (1558-1597) und die Bedeutung von Luxusgütern für die höfische Frau des 16. Jahrhunderts. Vienna: Böhlau, 1993. ISBN 3205980689
Watanabe-O'Kelly, Helen. Court Culture in Dresden from Renaissance to Baroque. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2002. ISBN: 9780333984482
Bedaux, Jan Baptist. 'Discipline for innocence. Metaphors for education in seventeenth-century Dutch painting'. In: Jan Baptist Bedaux, The Reality of Symbols: Studies in the iconology of Netherlandish art 1400-1800. 'S-Gravenhage / Maarssen: Gary Schwartz/SDU, 1990, pp. 109-169. ISBN 9061790956

Labels and date

German (Dresden); dated 1611, signed
By Daniel Kellerthaler

Kellerthaler was a goldsmith, seal engraver, and medallist who worked for the court of the Duke (called the Elector) of Saxony from the early seventeenth century until 1654. He is best known for his medals, generally oval portrait-pieces, cast from wax models and usually signed, as here, with a monogram.

[1993 - 2011]



Subjects depicted

Girl; Bird; Birdcage; Table; Flowers; Dog; Fruit


Reliefs; Sculpture


Sculpture Collection

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