Seemann, Enoch, Sr. (1661-?)
Seemann, Enoch, Sr., born 1661, the son of Isaac Seemann, surpassed his father in artistic ability; he learned painting in the studio of his brother Isaac, then made extensive journeys, returned to Elbing in 1680, and was received into the Mennonite congregation there at the age of nineteen. In 1683 he moved to Danzig and on 5 December of that year married Susanna Ordonn. On the basis of his work he was made a "free master," and was permitted (outside the guild) to paint only portraits and could not keep apprentices. He served as "City Painter" (Stadtmaler) 1683-98. At first all went well. But soon the elder of the congregation, Georg Hansen, forbade him to paint portraits, suggesting that he paint landscapes instead. Seemann replied that the signs on the shops were then also wrong and should be removed. When after a time these signs were not removed, and the guild of landscape painters made trouble for him, he again began to paint portraits, thereby drawing the renewed censure of the elder, who placed him under the ban in 1697. Seemann published Offenbahrung und Bestraffung des Gergen Hansens Thorheit (Stolzenberg, 1697), in which the story is given. About 1698 he went to Warsaw and served at the royal court until 1704, then went to London, where he died (date unknown).
Seven children were born to him; four were named in publications, but only two are recorded in the church books of the Danzig congregations. They include Enoch Seeman the Younger (ca. 1694-1744/45), who was born in Danzig and went to England with his father in 1704. He became a painter to the British royal court and completed portraits of King George I and King George II.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. IV.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 495. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Harder, Franz. "Seemann, Enoch, Sr. (1661-?)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 22 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/S4396.html.
APA style: Harder, Franz. (1959). Seemann, Enoch, Sr. (1661-?). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 22 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/S4396.html.