WILHELM HENSEL (1794 - 1861)
Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, 1822
This drawing is dated "14th of November 1822".
Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (1809 - 1847), the famous composer, is portrayed here as a thirteen-year old boy. Even then, he was already known as a "Wunderkind". The grandson of the philosopher Moses Mendelssohn became the most known member of his large family. In Berlin, he went through all the phases of the romantic musical life that was beginning to bloom. His first public performance took place when he was eight years old. His father, an affluent banker, placed a small orchester at the disposal of Felix.
In 1825, being sixteen years of age, Felix Mendelssohn composed his "Capriccio for Piano". One year later, the overture for Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" followed. "Die Kunst, o Mensch, hast Du allein" was what the thirteen-year old boy wrote under one of the drawings that Wilhelm Hensel created, meaning in essence that art was the one thing which only mankind could possess.
Wilhelm Hensel met the Mendelssohn family in 1821 in Berlin and was especially taken by Fanny, the sister of Felix, who was also a very talented musician and composer. After seven years of courtship, he finally married her. Hensel became famous as a painter of historical and religious subjects and was a portraitist sought after.