The Chocolate Girl
Year of creation:
Sculptor: Johann Joachim Kaendler (1706-1775)
This figurine was created on the basis of the famous painting “The Chocolate Girl” (La Belle Chocolatière) by the Swiss 18th century painter Jean-Etienne Liotard (1702-1789). It was painted in 1744 to early 1745 in Vienna and is kept in the Old Masters Picture Gallery (Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister) in Dresden.
The graceful, beautiful girl serves fresh hot chocolate in a cup of Meissen porcelain and a glass of water on a Japanese lacquer tray.
It is believed that the sculptors at Meissen created their "Chocolate Girl" in gratitude to Liotard for being the first to portray Meissen porcelain on canvas.
About the girls shown in the picture, there are different legends. According to one of the, the painter was struck by the beauty of the servant-maid working at the court of Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, and he therefore depicted the object of his admiration in the painting.
Another more romantic version, reminiscent of the Cinderella story, claims the girl’s name is Anna Baltauf.
She worked as a saleswoman in a chocolate-coffee shop in Vienna, where the Austrian aristocrat Prince Dietrichstein once entered to taste this new and sensational for the time drink: hot chocolate. He immediately fell in love with a girl who served him the drink, and thus he came almost every day to see Anna again and get to know her better. Soon, to the dismay of the aristocracy and the defiance of his family, he married this girl and as a wedding gift he order a portrait of his bride in the clothing of a 18th century waitress in which he saw her for the first time from Jean-Etienne Liotard, who was a fashionable painter working at the Viennese court at that time.
An inscription, which is preserved on a copy of the painting kept in the «Orleans House Gallery» in London reveals a third version. It claims the girl is the future princess Charlotte Baltauf, whose father was a Viennese banker, and the picture was painted in his house.
In any case, the identity of the girl is not established, but it is always nice to believe in beauty and romance!
It is noteworthy that the American chocolate sales company “Baker's Chocolate” acquired the rights to use the picture in 1862, which makes it one of the oldest brands in the world.