Chodowiecki Daniel


16.10.1726 - 07.02.1801

Painter, engraver, caricaturist.

He was born in the city of Danzig (Gdansk) in Poland, and in a letter “with typical Berlin humor” wrote, “that he moved to Berlin, Germany, which shows with confidence that he is a ‘real Pole’. He stayed close to the Huguenot scene because of his background.

According to Chodowiecki himself, his paternal ancestor, the Polish nobleman Bartlomiej Chodowiecki, lived in the 16th century in Greater Poland, although this is not confirmed by independent records. Gottfried Chodowiecki, Daniel’s father, was a merchant in Danzig, and his mother, Henrietta Eyrer, of Swiss descent, was a Huguenot. Daniel’s grandfather Christian was also a Danzig merchant who moved his business here from Torun. When his father died, Daniel (16 years old) and his younger brother Gottfried Chodovetsky went to live with their uncle in Berlin, who offered to give them an education. In Germany , Daniel received an art education from the artist Haida in Augsburg . His brother also became an artist.

Soon Daniel was able to make a living painting. He was admitted to the Berlin Academy in 1764 and became vice-director of Bernhard Rohde in 1788. He found his true vocation and became the most famous German graphic artist of his time. His works include several thousand etchings, usually quite small, and many drawings and paintings. His book illustrations cover almost all the works of the great classics. His engravings represent in great detail the life of the bourgeoisie in the period of the Zopf style , the time between Rococo and classicism . In 1797, Khodovetsky was appointed director of the Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin, where he died on February 7, 1801.Bazedov, Buffon, Lavater, Pestalozzi and others. He also painted many portraits of Polish nobility, and was also interested in Huguenot and Polish history, having painted several paintings on this topic. He was in tune with the developing spirit of the era, and many works reflect the cult of sensuality, and then the revolutionary and German nationalist feelings of the end of the century.

In the engraving, he is credited with inventing a deliberate remark, a small sketch on a plate lying outside the main image. Initially, these were small sketches or doodles by artists that were not really intended for viewing, but Khodovetsky turned them into “bonus items” for collectors.

Khodovetsky, although he spoke only French and German (due to the fact that he worked in the French Huguenot community in Berlin, he often spoke French), many times also declared his Polish loyalty and forced his son Isaac Heinrich, born in Berlin, to portray as very small a child with Polish clothes and a haircut. After the partition of Poland, Chodovetsky wrote to Grefin Solms-Laubach: “On my father’s side, I am a Pole, a descendant of a brave nation that will soon disappear.” In a letter to pl:Józef Łęski, a Polish astronomer, he wrote: “I consider it an honor to be a real Pole, even though I now live in Germany.” Because of the Huguenot background of his mother and wife, he was very close to the Berlin Huguenots. He spent most of his life and career in Germany, writing in German and living in Berlin since he was almost 17.

One of his most popular books is The Journey from Berlin to Danzig. “Die Reise von Berlin nach Danzig”, 1773) with many illustrations. He bought a horse, not a stagecoach. It was his first return after a 30-year absence, and he went specifically to see his elderly mother and sisters in Danzig again. After that, he made another trip to Danzig for his mother’s funeral. Along the way, he describes and illustrates cities and people in Pomerania and Prussia.

Reference: Wikipedia, 2010



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