Portrait of Bodilla Birgitte von Munthe af Morgenstierne, b. de Flindt other

  • Artist: Jens Juel
  • Creation date: Antagelig 1772
  • Object type: Painting

On display: Room 036 The Collection Exhibition - Looking back


The Danish artist Jens Juel was twenty-seven years old when he painted these portraits. After training at the Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, Juel studied portraiture in Paris and was lauded early on for his faithful, romantic portraits. He would go on to receive innumerable commissions, both abroad and at home in Denmark.

In Juel’s portraits of the married couple von Munthe af Morgenstierne, both husband and wife are fitted out in majestic accoutrement and wigs in accordance with the era’s rococo style. The evidence suggests that the portraits were not meant as representational works, but were rather intended for private display; for instance, the husband is clad in a red, fur-edged topcoat rather than in his civil servant’s uniform and its orders and medals. Placed in front of a neutral, partially lit background, both he and his wife are portrayed with a faint smile and with their gaze directed straight at the viewer. Jens Juel’s adroitness as a portrait painter is clearly evinced by the manner in which he here depicts the sitters’ mildness and beauty, and not least in his virtuoso reproduction of expensive textiles, jewellery, and fur.

Otto Christopher von Munthe af Morgenstierne (1735–1809) graduated with a degree in law from the University of Copenhagen in 1753. He was soon employed as a secretary at the Danish Chancery, not even twenty years old, before rising steadily to the upper echelons of the Dano-Norwegian civil service. In 1768, after having been a widower for three years, he married Christine Bodilla Birgitte, née de Flindt (1748–1787). Mrs Christine died in 1787 after nineteen years of marriage.

Text: Ellen J. Lerberg

From "Highlights. Art from Antiquity to 1945", Nasjonalmuseet 2014, ISBN 978-82-8154-088-0


Jens Juel

Visual artist

Born 1745 in Balslev, Fyn, Danmark, death 1802 in København, Danmark

Work info

Creation date:
Antagelig 1772
Other titles:
Christine Bodilla Birgitte von Munthe af Morgenstierne (NOR)
Object type:
Materials and techniques:
Olje på lerret
  • Height: 77.3 cm
  • Width: 61.7 cm
  • Depth: 2.4 cm
Kjøpt 1984
Inventory no.:
Cataloguing level:
Single object
Owner and collection:
Nasjonalmuseet for kunst, arkitektur og design, The Fine Art Collections
Høstland, Børre