Partially stained marquetry in maple, hornbeam, beech, boxwood, and other woods, frame in mahogany, picture backing in cherry; gilt bronze, brass, and iron; Diam. without frame 5 3/4 in. (14.7 cm), Diam. with frame 7 5/8 in. (19.5 cm)
Kunstgewerbemuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (1904,54 [woman], 1904,55 [man]) (L.2013.15.3a–b)
Called “fantasy” portraits, these medallion heads—in their original frames—acknowledge the long-standing artistic tradition of relating facial expressions to emotions, a popular genre in the eighteenth century. This idea of rendering serial states of mind was novel in the pre-Freudian world. This pair of portraits descended in Roentgen’s family. David may have kept them as good examples of the workshop’s art of marquetry or for personal reasons, as he sold other versions. It has been suggested that the sitters are David Roentgen’s in-laws, the Alsatian pastor Scheurer and his wife. Johann Michael Rummer, called the greatest master of such “woodworker’s painting,” was probably responsible for the marquetry and Januarius Zick, the well-known German painter, likely created the drawings.