Antoine Pesne, Wilhelmina and her brother Frederick (ca. 1715)

Antoine Pesne’s portrait of the young children of Prussian King Frederick William going out to play illustrates the place of a “chamber Moor” (Kammermohr) in courtly portraits. Here the young black man’s gaze directs us to the main subject, Wilhelmina and the future Frederick the Great, whose light skin contrasts with his own darker skin. He is dressed in fine clothing that reflects his integration into the courtly household, but he also wears a silver collar that reflects his status as a slave.


Source: Antoine Pesne, Wilhemine mit ihrer Bruder Friedrich (ca. 1715), via Wikimedia Commons.