A composed family portrait by Franz Liborius Schmitz (1762-1827)

Silhouettes and Genealogy

Cut and Painted Profile Portraits

Silhouettes in the form of cut or painted profile portraits were extremely popular in the last part of the 18th century and in the first half of the 19th century until the photographs took over. On these pages some major masters in Scandinavia will be presented, including a guide to identification of portrayed persons and time of silhouettes.

All but a few pages in this section are in Danish.


Self portrait of a self portrait by August Edouart (1789-1861)

The history of silhouettes, mainly in a Danish perspective. Some of the great masters working in Denmark, Norway and Schleswig-Holstein are mentioned together with their respective "signatures".
Read more (in Danish) ..

Franz Liborius Schmitz

Uniformed bailiff with pigtail

"Premier silhouetteur" Schmitz was born in Bonn, but spent most of his traveling in Denmark and Norway. He was a brilliant artist and portrayed more Danes and Norwegians than any other of his time. A number of his silhouettes are on display as well as a detailed walk-through of his whereabouts.
Read more (in English) ..

Boy Jensen Greve

"Royal silhouetteur" Greve was among the early masters in Denmark and the first to introduce silhouettes to Norway.
Read more (in Danish) ..


Silhouettes are not nearly as anonymous as they look. With just a little prior knowledge it is often possible to identify the portrayed persons, the time and place and the master.
Read more (in Danish) ..


I am searching for old paper cut silhouettes, in particular those cut by Franz Liborius Schmitz. Schleswig-Holstein and other parts of Germany is a specific focus area.
Read more (in English) ..

So far, the topics discussed in this section of the home page are mainly of local interest in Scandinavia and Schleswig-Holstein. If there is sufficient international interest, I will consider translating more parts of this section as I have done already with the article about Franz Liborius Schmitz.