Portrait of Leonilla, Princess of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn

Object Details


Portrait of Leonilla, Princess of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn


Franz Xaver Winterhalter (German, 1805 - 1873)






Oil on canvas


142.2 x 212.1 cm (56 x 83 1/2 in.)

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In a daring pose reminiscent of harem scenes and odalisques, the Princess Leonilla of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn reclines on a low Turkish sofa on a veranda overlooking a lush tropical landscape. Only her unassailable social position made it possible for Franz Xaver Winterhalter to use such a sensual pose for a full-length portrait in Paris in 1843.

Known for her great beauty and intellect, the Princess is resplendent in a luxurious gown of ivory silk moiré with a pink sash around her waist. A deep purple mantle wraps around her back and falls across her smooth arms. Under carefully arched eyebrows, her heavy lidded eyes gaze languidly at the viewer while she artfully toys with the large pearls around her neck. Winterhalter contrasted sumptuous fabrics and vivid colors against creamy flesh to heighten the sensuality of the pose, the model, and the luxuriant setting.

1843 - 1918

Leonilla, princess of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, 1816 - 1918 (Lausanne, Switzerland), commissioned from artist, 1843; by inheritance within the Sayn-Wittgenstein family, 1918.

1918 -

Sayn-Wittgenstein Family, by inheritance to Alexander Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn.

- 1985

Alexander, prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, born 1943

1985 - 1986

Artemis Fine Arts Ltd. (London, England), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1986.

Franz Xaver Winterhalter and the Courts of Europe, 1830-70 / Franx Xaver Winterhalter et les cours d'Europe de 1830 à 1870 (October 30, 1987 to May 7, 1988) (Cat. 20)
  • National Portrait Gallery (London), October 30, 1987 to January 10, 1988
  • Musée du Petit Palais, (Paris), February 11 to May 7, 1988