Large KPM porcelain plaque of 'Tannhäuser und Venus' after Knille

By KPM, Konigliche Porzellan-Manufaktur (German, founded 1763)


Conveying all the dramatic power and force of Knille's original, this magnificent porcelain plaque is an outstanding example of some of KPM's finest work.


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This exceptional porcelain plaque, by the leading German Berlin-based makers KPM (Konigliche Porzellan-Manufaktur), depicts a well-known scene from Wagnerian opera, after an important painting by Otto Knille (German, 1832-1898).

Titled 'Tannhäuser und Venus,' it takes its subject from the legend based on the historical figure of the German travelling poet, Tannhauser, in which the titular figure founds the 'Venusberg,' a subterranean home dedicated to the worship of the goddess, before renouncing her. It was famously adapted for a three-part cycle of operas by German composer Richard Wagner, completed in 1845, and was a popular subject for art as well.

The present piece is based on a painting of 1873 by Otto Knille, which is housed in the National art gallery of Berlin. Knille was a talented history painter, most keenly associated with the Düsseldorf school of painting. It depicts the moment in which Tannhäuser renounces the cult Venus, realising her sensual world gives him no true fulfilment, and the goddess desparately tries to hold him back.

With exceptional use of chiaroscuro to convey the scene's dramatic power, the painting is exceptionally executed. The figures are wonderfully painted, and the full impact of Knille's important original painting are successfully replicated, to create a moving, beautiful, and highly ornate decorative piece. It is incised on the reverse with inventory numbers and marked for KPM, and is signed to the front 'A. Knye,' for the artist at KPM who executed it.

Frame: height 58cm, width 67cm, depth 7cm
Plaque: height 44cm, width 54cm


Artist / Maker
By KPM, Konigliche Porzellan-Manufaktur (German, founded 1763)
Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
Late 19th Century
Late 19th Century
Figurative Art, History Painting, Mythological, Romantic
Giltwood, Porcelain
Gold, Multi-coloured


58 cm / 22.8 inches
67 cm / 26.4 inches
7 cm / 2.8 inches


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