Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
A Portrait of Mendelssohn$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Clive Brown

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780300095395

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300095395.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM YALE SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.yale.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Yale University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in YSO for personal use.date: 16 February 2020

• Appearance and Manner

• Appearance and Manner

(p.3) 1 • Appearance and Manner
A Portrait of Mendelssohn

Clive Brown

Yale University Press

As a child, Felix Mendelssohn seems to have attracted attention not only for his musical gifts but also for his manner and physical appearance. According to Mendelssohn's composition teacher Carl Friedrich Zelter, his pupil was “good and pretty, lively and obedient.” In the opinion of most of his contemporaries, Mendelssohn's portraits failed to convey the mercurial traits that often made his features fascinating and arresting. One of his closest English musical friends, William Sterndale Bennett, described Mendelssohn as having the appearance of an angel. William Makepeace Thackeray commented that “his face is the most beautiful face I ever saw...” whereas Richard Wagner claimed that he looked so fat and unpleasant. As he grew older, Mendelssohn apparently did not lose any of his physical attractiveness. Many noted the contrast between his slight build and his athleticism. Others, like George Grove and Bayard Taylor, admired his eyes. In the last few years of his life, however, Mendelssohn's features and bearing showed signs of strain.

Keywords:   manner, physical appearance, Carl Friedrich Zelter, portraits, William Sterndale Bennett, William Makepeace Thackeray, Richard Wagner, athleticism, eyes

Yale Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.