(1 of 12) Reception of the Huguenots in Potsdam
by Johann Jakob Thurneyson (1636-1711) - dimensions: 89.6 x 63.8 cm.
The copper engraver J.J.Thurneysen (the Elder) married a Huguenot in Bourg-en-Bresse and lived in Lyon for 19 years (Thieme-Becker). In 1681, to escape from the increasing persecution of the Protestants, he fled to his home town of Basle. In 1689 he made an etching after a drawing by Brandmüller.
The Great Elector is represented as a Roman Emperor sitting in front of the portico of an antique temple with Corinthian pillars. He is surrounded by his counsellors and 4 women representing the Christian virtues of Faith (with chalice), Love (with child at her breast), Hope and Strength.
Providence, also portrayed as a woman, is showing a group of refugees the way to the Great Elector. They are dressed in fine clothes, some on foot, some on horseback.
An angel is holding a laurel wreath above his head. In front of the temple two angels are holding seven medallions with biblical scenes which can be brought into relation with the fate of the Huguenots, dealing as they do with the dangers Christians are exposed to and their acceptance of suffering: 1. Daniel in the lion's den (Daniel, Chapter 6). 2. Job loses his possessions (Job, Chapter 1, 13-21. 3. Peter's remorse (St. Matthew, Chapter 26,75). 4. Paul's ship is wrecked (Acts, Chapter 27,13-44). 5. Abraham's sacrifice (Genesis, Chapter 2,1-19). 6. Tabitha gives alms (Acts, Chapter 9, 36). 7. Stephen's martyrdom (Acts, Chapter 7, 54-60). As the coat of arms and the Latin inscription at the top indicate, the scene is dedicated to the Great Elector, Frederick William I. Further down, two angels are carrying a banner with an inscription. At the bottom of the engraving there is a further dedication to Frederick III, Elector of Brandenburg (later King Frederick I in Prussia) and a Latin poem by J.J. Hoffman of Basle.
Literature: Roudot, Natalis: Les Thurneysen. Lyon 1899, p. 87 f. Deutsche Emigranten in Frankreich. Französische Emigrante in Deutschland. 1685-1945. An exhibition of the French Foreign Office in cooperation with the Goethe Institute. Catalogue. Paris 1983, pp. 17-19.
© German Huguenot Museum Bad Karlshafen