Portrait of Sibylla Kessel, Bartholomäus Bruyn the Elder
Bartholomäus Bruyn the Elder
Portrait of Sibylla Kessel
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Bartholomäus Bruyn the Elder

Portrait of Sibylla Kessel, ca. 1540 – 1545

width: 59 cm
minimum depth: min. 0.7 cm
maximum depth: 0.7 cm
Physical Description
Mixed media on oak wood, topped by curved arch, later expanded to rectangle
Inventory Number
Acquired in 1861 by bequest from Johann David Passavant.
Not on display


About the Acquisition

Johann David Passavant (1787−1861) was an unusual person. First trained as a merchant in his parents' business in Frankfurt, from 1817 on he developed into a Nazarene painter and finally became a co-founder of a scientifically oriented art history. His work on Rafael von Urbino and his father Giovanni Santi, published in 1839, is considered one of the cornerstones of art research. The author had dedicated it to the "highly commendable administration" of the Städel, which had supported the research enterprise as well as the printing. He had been closely associated with the institute for a long time and had been advising it on art purchases since 1817. In 1840, Passavant took up the post of gallery inspector at the Städel art institute. The artist and art scientist also set up a small private collection himself, which he bequeathed to the Städel in his legacy dated 1861.

Work Data

Basic Information

Portrait of Sibylla Kessel
Period Produced
Object Type
Physical Description
Mixed media on oak wood, topped by curved arch, later expanded to rectangle
Label at the Time of Manufacture

Property and Acquisition

Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
Picture Copyright
Public Domain
Acquired in 1861 by bequest from Johann David Passavant.

Work Content

Motifs and References

Main Motif
Persons Shown


  • 61BB2(KESSEL, Sibylla)11(+54) historical person (KESSEL, Sibylla) - BB - woman - historical person (KESSEL, Sibylla) portrayed alone (+ three-quarter length portrait)
  • 31D15 adult woman
  • 31D15(+4) adult woman (+ three-quarter view)
  • 31AA231 standing figure - AA - female human figure

Research and Discussion


Object History
Johann David Passavant (1787-1861), Frankfurt am Main
Vermächtnis an das Städelsche Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt am Main, 12. Dezember 1861.


Since 2001, the Städel Museum has systematically been researching the provenance of all objects that were acquired during the National Socialist period, or that changed owners or could have changed owners during those years. The basis for this research is the “Washington Declaration”, also known as the “Washington Conference Principles”, formulated at the 1998 “Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets” and the subsequent “Joint Declaration”.

The provenance information is based on the sources researched at the time they were published digitally. However, this information can change at any time when new sources are discovered. Provenance research is therefore a continuous process and one that is updated at regular intervals.

Ideally, the provenance information documents an object’s origins from the time it was created until the date when it found its way into the collection. It contains the following details, provided they are known:

  • the type of acquisition and/or the way the object changed hands
  • the owner's name and place of residence
  • the date on which it changed hands

The successive ownership records are separated from each other by a semicolon.

Gaps in the record of a provenance are indicated by the placeholder “…”. Unsupported information is listed in square brackets.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact the museum at .

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