This large-scale portrait shows King Ludwig II (1845–1886) as a Grandmaster of the Knights of St. George. It was painted a year after Ludwig’s death and was the late king’s official portrait, to be displayed in the Bavarian parliament. Ludwig ruled over the Kingdom of Bavaria from 1864 until his mysterious death by drowning in Lake Starnberg (south of Munich) in June 1886. The tense expression on his pale face and the dark shadows under the eyes reflect the official narrative of the time that Ludwig had been insane, which had led to his removal from power.

King Ludwig II of Bavaria (1887)


Source: Gabriel Schachinger, “König Ludwig II. als Großmeister des Georgiritterordens” [“King Ludwig II as Grandmaster of the Knights of St. George”]. Oil on canvas (1887). Original: Schloß Herrenchiemsee.
Available online at: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/35/Ludwig_II_portrait_by_Gabriel_Schachinger.jpg