Art: The Prussian Francophile

Frederick the Great of Prussia, who called himself "the first servant of the state," was as much a tyrant as any monarch of the 18th century, but he liked to say of himself that he was "philosopher by instinct and politician by duty." He was also a patron of the arts. He played the flute to the accompaniment of one of Johann Sebastian Bach's sons; he wrote indifferent poetry under the tutelage of his sometime friend Voltaire; he was an avid collector of paintings and sculpture. In affairs of state, he was Prussian...

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