10 April 250 Years Ago

culminated the life

Dedié à Monsieur Jean Elie Ridinger

” … of one of the most excellent
German graphic artists of the XVIII century … ”

Alojzy Oborny ,
Director of the National Museum at Kielce ,
in the noble Polish-German exhibition catalog
to the great
Polish Ridinger touring exhibition 1997/98


10 April 1767

Ridinger, Omnia Mihi Subdita

to the 250th

10 April 2017

« When I got in touch with Ridinger

for the first time about 60 years ago

I took him for a portraitist of the hunt.

His pictures I have seen (in many places) …

especially with and between hunting trophies.

This impression has faded away in the meantime.


has grappled with a wealth of intellectual problems

which had nothing to do with the hunt.

Evidently he was a wide-ranging educated man.

(So) that I see Ridinger

more comprehensively today. »

Wolfgang Weitz

presiding judge em., hunting historian + donor,

holder of the Distinguished Service Pin in Gold of the Deutsche Jagdschutz-Verband,

by letter of August 30, 2006

Dedié à Monsieur Jean Elie Ridinger
Des Sohnes Johann Jacob 1767er Gedächtnisblatt nach väterlicher Vorlage

The Master’s Final Plate

Ridinger, Greyhound Avion

— here traded into Baden private collection —

with the sons’ additon

Made by Johann Elias Ridinger painter and engraver 1767

“ Made by Johann Elias Ridinger painter and engraver
at Augspurg: in the year 1767. month of April in the final days of his life,
at the age of 70. ”


“ Quid q(uid) agis, prudenter agas et respice finem, Sir. 7.c.

What you do think of the end, then you will never ever do evil .

(Sir. 7th chap.) ”

Johann Elias Ridinger (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). Memento Mori. On the bible lying on the table death’s-head with several teeth missing. To its right vase with defoliating bouquet, left, as rarer, tray with soap-bubbles on which a four-fingered jagged bar with attached seal rests as well as burned down candle/light of life, on its stand a pair of candle scissors, behind it hour-glass and above curtain with large jagged tear-out for the curtain of life, but since the middle ages also symbol of the mysterious whose possibly religious solace is, however, already countered by the hole. Peeping out from under the bible and projecting beyond the edge of the table a blank sheet of paper with tear and dog’s ear. Mezzotint. Inscribed: Ioh. Elias Ridinger inv. et exc. Aug. Vind., otherwise as above and following. 20¼ × 16½ in (51.6 × 42 cm).


Counts Faber-Castell

their Ridinger sale 1958
with its lot no. on the underlay carton

Radulf Count of Castell-Rüdenhausen


Stillfried (3rd appendix to Thienemann, 1876) & Schwarz (Gutmann Collection, 1910) 1426, obviously both III (of III); Reich auf Biehla 295 (“Extremely rare”, 1894! Without state detail.); Rosenthal, Ridinger list 126 (1940), 434 (without margin, supposedly ditto); Faber-Castell 145, state I (of III) just as the copy of the National Print Room Munich (1963:1644); Wend, Ergänzungen zu den Œuvreverzeichnissen der Druckgrafik, I/1, 289 (1975, quoting Stillfried’s description); Ridinger Catalog Kielce (1997), 172, II (of III) with ills.; Niemeyer, Die Vanitas-Symbolik bei Johann Elias Ridinger in Wunderlich (ed.), L’Art Macabre 2, 2001, illustration p. 103 (state III).

Not in Thienemann (1856), Weigel, Art Stock Catalog, pts. I-XXVIII (1838/57), Silesian Ridinger collection at Boerner XXXIX (1885), Coppenrath Collection (1889 f.), Hamminger Collection (1895) , Helbing XXXIV (Arbeiten von J. E. und M. E. Ridinger, 1554 items; 1900).

The various states not yet recorded by literature present here and according to current knowledge here to be ordered in their deviations as following:

  1. as present here, with the pair of scissors across the stand of the candle-stick, with the bar resting with its four-jagged head on the tray of soap-bubbles, mounted on it a seal hanging down over the edge of the table. Of the upright flowers two petals fall down.
  2. Omission of the bar with the seal. The sheet of paper minimally modified in its lower edge, its right corner instead of the pointed extension cleanly closed to the below. The bouquet still upright with only unessentially modified composition. The third gap of the right upper jaw closed. The paper strip projecting from the inner book slightly shortened.
  3. Omission now of the pair of scissors on the candle-stick, too, and simplification of the tray of soap-bubbles. The candle-stick set back a little from the edge of the table and the upper bulging gradation of the edges less emphasized. Contrary to each two further gradations with I+II here now three. The turned-over left lower corner of the sheet of paper nervous-pointed, the right one on its part again slightly peaked pointing down. The bouquet less sumptuous and also otherwise modified, the four main flowers, especially the left of the two roses as symbol of transitoriness, emphasize their fading away by bending the heads. Besides the two falling petals, the lower one distinctly modified, now already two on the table-top. The right tooth gap opened again. The paper strip in the inner book shortened further. The chasing of the candle-stick given up in favor of simplified forms, besides the design of the foot in its play of chiaroscuro of downright modern expressionism as for the first time it also finds its echo in the broad tassel of the curtain, but also is taken up by the once more enforced accentuation of the belly of the vase. As this way the vase generally corresponds more convincingly with the candle-stick as with its fine chasing in both the previous states.

Earliest version
of this pictorial-beautiful vanitas still-life

Johann Elias Ridinger, Memento Mori

as a Netherlandish fed lightning in the master’s œuvre

and besides one of its

most interesting rarities .

Besides more marginal differences. Positively proceeding from the necessity of retouchings of the mezzotint plate technically conditioned extremely fast wearing off which according to the expert Sandrart (1675) only permits 50-60 good impressions, Ridinger, however, used the occasions for elucidation of his intellectual point of view with the original Dutch-based bourgeois-beautiful composition of the picture, as present here, leading to a radicalized spiritualization with from the second state on the sheet of paper being as naked as the skull. A development comparable to the conceptionally deviating last four sheets of his Fable set. Invented and drawn by himself, but engraved and published posthumously only by his eldest, Martin Elias.

The deliberate further development of the content of a picture has with respect to Ridinger an interesting contemporary parallel by different hands, too.

So when, so Stillfried & Schwarz, reworking the mezzotint plate of Haid’s known Ridinger portrait Th. XX, 2/Schwarz 3, Sebastian Walch (1721-1788) omitted Diana and the landscape accessories outside of the mirror/medallion and set this, anyhow already resting on a pedestal, even into brickwork while at the same time aging the face. By which he imparted to the original express of the picture (“the killed game in the foreground suggests hunt still lives and so reminds of the transitoriness of all mortal”, Morét) a downright sepulchral character.

And still at Ridinger’s lifetime from this the reduced anonymous half-length portrait medallion Th.-St., 1876, p. 2, top, Morét, Ridinger Catalog Darmstadt, 1999, p. 57 with illustration, was created which now was deprived of anything except for the pedestal. Thus also palette and easel within the medallion/mirror. And instead of the brickwork it is set into a heavy curtain with tassel. A path therefore from the pictorially harmonic origin to the naked core of just portrait, pedestal, and, as sustainer of the mysterious and concealed, curtain. Just in outline anymore and much reduced this anonymous final version is finally found in 1775 as “3.” in Lavater, Physiognomic Fragments, vol. I, p. 253. At the same place then, too, the window-curtain-portrait Th. XXI,3 (cf. 1876 Stillfried appendix p. 2, center).

Another example of retouching of a mezzotint plate by Ridinger himself occurs in Schwarz 1499/1500.

HERE then now the FIRST STATE


in deep-brown impression of finest plasticity on buff laid paper with watermark WANGEN and separate IV as both standing for contemporary impressions. With laterally 8-14 mm, top 17 mm margin, below trimmed with partial minor cut of the signature, but loss of the “Sir. 7. Cap.” as final line of the caption. Small tears backed by old in the free field outer left of the toned-fine lower text margin with still minimal extending into the closure of the table edge just as within the two quoted lines with near-loss of the letters “uid” in the second “quid” of the first and minimal touching of the letters “as” in the “Was” of the second line. In the picture itself isolated tiny(est) injuries done by old, optically like a hair crack four of these in the curtain upper left and one in the skull’s right eye, pinhead-like three further ones at the rim of the skull, on the bible, in the curtain. One further tiny injury in the white edge of the table lower right barely perceptible, from the front not at all a few untreated pinhead-small little holes just as also the not unusual smoothed centerfold still visible in the skull only. Of two backed tiny tears in the white right margin one reaching 7 mm into the picture filling. A slight touch of browning down from the foot of the candle-stick optically almost eliminated by the brown of the ink. Generally thus somewhat age-marked, but not only with regard to the additional rarity as first state and the with respect to Ridinger important provenance through and through worth acquisition as an

outstanding example from the group of the vanitas works and danses macabres .

With regard to the precious mezzotint technique in general finally Thienemann summerizes already 1856 ( sic ! ):

“ The mezzotints are almost not available in the trade anymore

… all worked by and after Joh. El. Ridinger (are) that rare that they are to be found almost only in some public, grand print rooms. I have come across most of the described ones only in the famous printroom at Dresden … ” (pages VIII & 270).

Offer no. 14,856 / price on application

“ … Ridinger’s artistic general appearance

actually has nothing

of an ‘Augsburg’ artis …

… that he has been an animal designer sui generis

whose — truly unique — manner

has not been met again even just similarly

by any other artist ”

Wolf Stubbe

former director of the Hamburg Printroom

equally affiliated to both 18th & 20th centuries

in Johann Elias Ridinger, Hamburg/Berlin 1966, pages 10 & 13

“ The Great Sheet of Dance Macabre ”

Johann Elias Ridinger, Dance Macabre

erst 1876

seitens Graf Stillfried’s bekanntgemacht worden

Johann Elias Ridinger (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). Dance Macabre. Circular chain dance of nine women plus skeletons around opened casket with two skeletons within and without the churchyard wall as centerpiece. In addition to it, placed back, chapel & charnel house (?) along with walls. In the corners the Fall of Man – Calvary – Eternal life & Purgatory , in-between two text-cartouches. In the outer field surrounded by 12 medallions together with text-cartouches for the dance of the men, separated by 8 (6 varying) vanitas attributes. Mezzotint by Johann Jacob Ridinger (1736 Augsburg 1784). Inscribed: Ioh. Iacob Ridinger sculps. / Ioh. El. Ridinger excud. Aug. Vindel., otherwise as following. 65.3 × 48 cm (25¾ × 18⅞ in).

Th.-Stillfried & Schwarz 1428; Silesian Ridinger collection at Boerner XXXIX, 2032 ( “Extremely rare”, 1885 ! ).

Illustration in L’Art Macabre 2, Yearbook of the European Dance Macabre Society, Dusseldorf 2001, within the contribution here Die Vanitas-Symbolik bei Joh. El. Ridinger (enlarged online version).

State II (of II?) as the copy in the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung Munich, too. – The copies Stillfried & Schwarz, Boerner and that of the sale Counts Faber-Castell (1958 as

“ The great sheet of Dance Macabre / Main sheet ”

not fixable in their states based on their descriptions. However, the one presented by Patrick Pollefeys on the internet proves to be the earlier, currently suppoesedly first state.

Not in Thienemann and therefore also not in the Dresden printroom, see above, missing in the comprehensive stocks of Weigel (1857), Coppenrath (1889/90), Wawra (1890), Reich auf Biehla (1894; “Of all [R. collections on the market] since long time there is none standing comparison even approximately with the present one in respect of completeness and quality … especially the rarities and undescribed sheets present in great number”; 1266 sheet plus 470 duplicates & 20 drawings), Hamminger (1895), Helbing (1900), Rosenthal (1940), and others more.

Typographic & figurative watermark. – Above and on the right fine small margin almost throughout, on the left and below predominantly trimmed on the platemark here 1.5 cm wide anyhow. – Upper half laid by old onto wide-margined laid paper per corner-montage, one of which loosened, causing a repaired tear. Practically not impeding centerfold.

The very fine copy in respect of printing & condition

from a cultivated collection of nuanced chiaroscuro in all parts. And in such a way

of greatest rarity

not only on the market, as documented above, but in general. For already in 1675 the expert von Sandrart numbered “neat impressions” of the velvety mezzotint at only “50 or 60 (!) indeed. After that, however, the image acquires polish soon for it does not go deep into the copper”. Corresponding to that Thienemann, see above, and only 1876 Count Stillfried made it known in addition to Thienemann. The citations there not quite accurate.


with the Allegory of the Period of Life as companion piece not present here (Th.-St. & Schwarz 1429; illustration of the copy in Augsburg in L’Art Macabre 2 as above)


in updated repetition of an anonymous leaflet of the late 16th or early 17th century, in any case “before 1623” as the

“ “ demonstrably earliest and best known Dance Macabre illustration

of this kind in the German-language area ”

(that in this connection in respect of “demonstrable” indeed, nevertheless surely erroneously, is thought only of the succession of that anonymous from the side of the Nuremberg publisher Paulus Fürst is referred to below), namely “that special kind of the dance macabre in which both manners of representation – the dance in circular form and the dance in procession in pairs of the living and the personified dead as the both most important among the dances macabre – are combined” and therewith forms the “one and only figure being able to represent the dance macabre ‘completely’ … at which the chapel with wall on the hori-zon (whose complex Ridinger has enlarged here by the said second building with its own wall) … is faded in as a third perspective … this all taken from the familiar linear form of the dances macabre printed in books (following the representation on churchyard walls as the origin) … but nevertheless arranged in circular form” (cf. Imke Lüders Totenreigen-Totentanz, Totentanzillustrationen auf Flugblättern des Barock und ihre Rezeption, in L’Art Macabre 1, Dusseldorf 2000, along with illustrations referred to below).

The texts of the cartouches each time in Latin & German versions. – In the centerpiece between Calvary & Eternal life “Christ’s death has ruined death and returned life ” & below between Fall of Man & Purgatory “Death and eternal hellish pain has brought about the sin alone”.

The outer field presents clockwise from 1-12 the stations of the social structure of the great hundrum of the end, in the course of which the status symbols lie disrespectfully on the earth. Only the fool has been left cap and bells and the right grips the wand.

“ Papa. / Pope. … The pope’s power not withstanding death. // Imperator. / Emperor. … The head of the world falls to death. // Rex. / King. … The crowned head not spared by death. // Cardinalis. / Cardinal. … The cardinal I take home, too. // Episcopus. / Bishop. … I lead him to the churchyard. // Dux. / Duke. … Be gentleman or prince a dead man at last. // Comes. / Count. … Whether count or servant death be in the right. // Nobilis. / Nobleman. … No noble blood is too good for death. // Civis. / Citizen. … No man here has a lasting place. // Rusticus. / Peasant. … The farmer must under death’s foot, too. // Men-dicus. / Beggar. / Miles. Soldier. … Soldier, beggar equally have to stand. // Stultus. Fool. / Enfans. Child. … Child and fools together belong to my kingdom. ”

As the essential links should be mentioned above/below middle, each time one beneath the other, timer (12 o’clock 25), hour-glass, death’s head, bones and death’s head with cup/funnel (?) sitting on, bucket with whisk filled with liquid. Left/right middle crossed gravedigger’s tool kit between bier & casket with pall flanked by four chandeliers.

Contrary to the stereotyped model of the leaflet as typical for its age and, more yet, the article itself the phenotype of the Ridinger dance in its 2nd state here corresponds as well with its time as another artistic demand, too. Irrespective of all basic form the individually formed faces are those of living modern figures up to natural hair. But also in other respects this state proves to be both as to time and pictorially as the youngest within the series drewable upon comparatively here with the said leaflet of before 1623 as the first. On the latter see Imke Lüders who presents this probably erroneously as only a replica of the same “of the end of the 17th or early 18th century” published by Johann Peter Wolff’s (1655 – after 1702) heirs in Nuremberg albeit

“ Not unreasonably this dance has been dated in the past at the end of the 16th century for as well the execution of the graphic as the costumes of the persons of quality perfectly allow such an inference. ”

For surely this Wolff heirs “version” is the original one mistaken for lost. In the course of which Imke Lüders only overlooked the use of the publishers to engrave in old plates of others, exchanging if necessary, the own address. With the result that the Wolff dates could irritate her. This shows not at least a comparison with the replica contrastly illustrated by her of the “so-called monogramist ‘J.W.’” – surely the Augsburg art publisher & engraver Jeremias Wolf(f), 1663-1724, to whom Ridinger stood in work contact during his early period – “of the late 17th century” after the engraving published by Fürst (c. 1605 – 1666) introduced already above, with which this on his part followed to the early original which later has been “copied” by Wolff heirs, too. This replica of the Fürst version by the monogramist worked before that published by Wolff heirs is more modern than the following latter, consequently the origin of that has to be sought in earlier time. The complications following from this reflection, namely especially from the fact that in the Fürst version still lacks the high important attributes of churchyard wall, casket & chapel in the center field, may be in silence here as less interesting for the Ridinger mezzotint.

Of consequence however that Ridinger was acquainted with both the Wolff heirs “replica” of the original version of that novel dance macabre representation and the monogramist’s replica after Fürst, which latter he follows textually predominantly, too. So for instance in the upper text cartouche by “… has ruined Death, and returned Life” (“… zu nicht hat gemacht Den Todt, und SLeben widerbracht”) & in the duke’s medallion “… death at last gets you” (“… dem Tod [with ‘J.W.’ Todt] zletz wirst”), whereas with Wolff heirs it is “… has made, Death and Life …” (“… hat gemacht, den Tod u. das Leben …”) & “… Death at last gets you” (“… Dem Tod zuletz wirst”).

For beyond Ridinger’s already mentioned period adjustment of the figures as not without common practice his version differs, at least in present 2nd state, also elsewhere from both those models. Not only that he shows the inconspicuous chapel of the background with Wolff heirs as situated, like Golgotha, too, somewhat more elevated, but generally shapes it more dominantly, and complements it with the likewise shaped second building with i. a. a cross and adjoining own wall. Within the cartouche above Christ with cross. Beneath it, unintelligible also in its distance to the chapel, a cross amidst an only shadowy suggestion of foliage, inasmuch as imagination is not inclined to see herein a ghostly procession of the dead with the cross at the head. Modified and richer the purgatory figuration. Of rich pithiness and detail finally the building complexes within the medallions. The more elegantly presented casket on the right now flanked by four chandeliers at the expense of the two torches. The former missing with Wolff heirs, yet already present, and indeed in addition to the torches, with the monogramist’s replica, whose casket is still unchangedly chestlike. Contrary to the arrangement of the cartouches of Wolff & replica corresponding with each other in this respect, with present Ridinger copy they are placed analogously to the one in Munich directly against the border.

However, the Pollefeys copy (1st state) still has torche and chandeliers, the casket chestlike, the arrangement of the cartouches à la Wolff heirs & monogramist replica, and indeed modified wigs, yet still no natural hair. – In sum

the grand sheet of richest topic present here for the first time .

Offer no. 28,933 / price on application

Vanitas Symbolism
Ridinger, Stag Hunt (detail)
in Ridinger’s Hunt Prints I

The 25-Year-Old’s Grappling with Death

Johann Elias Ridinger (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). A Stag Hunt par force in the Water. Etching, partly with drypoint, by Johann Daniel Hertz I (1693 Augsburg 1754) for Jeremias Wolff there. 1723. C. 14⅝ × 19¼ in (37 × 49 cm).

Thienemann & Schwarz 10. – Sheet 2 of the extremely rare 4-sheet set Hunting with Hounds as the master’s third earliest, who at that time not yet worked in copper himself.

Between two wooded areas with vista at a park-like rolling landscape the hunt – copied repeatedly for Meissen porcelain, see in this regard Th. 9, too – comes to its closure. Ridinger here generally cites

Savery’s drawn Tyrolese “Boslandschap met Jagers”

from 1608 (last digit illegible) in Paris (Collection Lugt 2436; cat. Un Cabinet Particulier, 2010, pp. 276 ff. with [color] illustrations; 1968/69 exhibition cat. Landschaptekeningen van Hollandse Meesters uit de XVIIe Eeuw … in het Institut Néerlandais te Parijs no. 138 & pl. 1; 7⅝ × 10⅝ mm [193 × 269 mm]), which Aegidius Sadeler had transferred to copper in the original size in 1609 (Hollstein, 1980, no. 225 as “Three Hunters and two Dogs near a Pool” within the 6-sheet set 225-230 “Six Mountainous Landscapes in Tyrol”, in Wurzbach 107 as but 5-sheet with the present one as pl. 4), while for the details of the hunt Frans de Momper’s (1603-1660) painted “Stag Hunt in the Wood” is even closer.

With Savery the game remains invisible, being a deer stalking by three hunters with two hound concentrated entirely on the left side. Common to both versions, however, the position of the aiming hunter behind the dead tree (with Savery a group of dead and living) which Ridinger develops to pronounced vanitas double symbolism:

the stag flys straight into his destruction ,

Ridinger, Stag Hunt

unmistakable the dead branches reach out to him ,

the shooter expects him .

Already with Momper – see the illustration in Beck, Künstler um Jan van Goyen, no. 823 – it is the coursing from the right with the stag flying on the edge of the pool to the left from where two hounds come. Behind the dead tree looming above the pool not a shooter, at least not pointing, rather a dog-leader just unleashing another hound. Such one with two hounds with Ridinger, too, right front left. Conceivable that further repetitions exist which had inspired the latter.

Momper’s compositional conception besides refers to Sadeler’s Stag Hunt Wurzbach 106/3 (Hollstein 233; Savery catalog Cologne/Utrecht, 1985/86, 120 with ill.), likewise engraved after Savery, which should have served the later Jacob van Ruisdael as model for his famous Dresden Stag Hunt Slive 37 — Adrian Zingg’s sepia-washed etching in outline of the same available here — capturing already Goethe. And always a dead tree acts its icongraphic part with ostentiation. – Traded here as part of the complete set into public Saxon collection.

Not subject of present offer

In Pictorial Tradition of El Greco and Jusepe de Ribera

The Rosy Young Woman
Johann Elias Ridinger, Mary Magdalen
in Contrast to Death’s-head & Chain

Johann Elias Ridinger (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). Saint Mary Magdalen in Penitence in the Desert. Mezzotint. 20¼ × 16¾ in (51.6 × 42.4 cm).


Counts Faber-Castell

their Ridinger sale 1958
with its lot no. 168
on the underlay carton

Radulf Count of Castell-Rüdenhausen


Compare Schwarz 1507 (20⅛ × 15¼ in [51.2 × 38.6 cm]; inscribed Ioh. Elias Ridinger exc.: Aug. Vind., with two soaring angel heads upper left in the clouds) as reduced repetition of Schwarz 1506 (26⅛ × 19¼ in [66.5 × 48.8 cm]; inscribed as before, but instead of the “exc.” “invent. et delin.” and without the angel heads); Wend, Ergänzungen zu den Œuvreverzeichnissen der Druckgrafik, I/1 (1975), 192 (Schw. 1507); Faber-Castell 115 (negligently as Schwarz 1506!).

Not in Thienemann (1856), Stillfried (1876), Weigel, Art Stock Catalog, pts. I-XXVIII (1838/57), Silesian Ridinger collection at Boerner XXXIX (1885), Coppenrath Collection (1889 f.), Reich auf Biehla (1894), Gg. Hamminger (1895), Helbing XXXIV (Arbeiten von J. E. und M. E. Ridinger, 1900), Rosenthal, Ridinger list 126 (1940).

Undescribed variant to Schwarz 1507 & 1506

in proof before all letters

with the far more expressive beam of light instead of the informal usual puttos which furthermore is not, as the latter, set into the clouds, rather emanates from the utterly broad-flatted black devoid of contours above them. Being 3.8 cm wider than Schwarz 1507 and therefore beyond the tolerable of varying working of paper it must be proceeded from an independent version and not just from differing states of one and the same plate. Already Schwarz judged such a difference of dimensions accordingly as he questioned an identity of his Magdalen reading no. 1508 with the equal one of Th.-Stillfried 1421 not present to him for differing width (38.4 : 42 cm, thus similar here).

The rosy young woman

— after the evangelists one of the first

and (John 20,1) the first witness(es) resp. for the resurrection —

in contrast to death’s-head

and chain in the pictorial tradition of El Greco and Jusepe de Ribera and incomparably more charming than especially the subject of Correggio’s Magdalen reading in idyllic landscape widely spread through steel engraving, but also over-excited other earlier depictions. That Ridinger used the death’s-head also in connection with the attribute of the book (said Schwarz 1508, Stillfried 1421) – just as his Italian contemporary Batoni, 1708-1787, but also already El Greco, 1541-1614 – follows with respect to his vanitates pervading the œuvre in manifold gradation without saying. But also picture-esthetically his present Magdalen with her elegantly draped bosom is a class of her own.

Marvelous impression of adequate preservation

with WANGEN watermark as standing for contemporary impressions with margins of 5-10 mm running around. Three differently long professionally smoothed out cross-folds no more perceptible from the front as a little restoring in height of the breast. Tiny rust spots in the sky part, three pinhead-small little holes right in the white paper (2) and image margin resp.

“ The mezzotints – Thienemann resumes –

are almost not available in the trade anymore … ” see above

A situation also possible new editions could change little as according to the expert Sandrart (1675) the technically conditioned extremely fast wearing off mezzotint plate only permits 50-60 good impressions.

Offer no. 14,868 / EUR  1380. / export price EUR  1311. (c. US$ 1662.) + shipping

“ Great artists

are never

the result of a local style ,


they set their own style ”

Dirk De Vos

Rogier van der Weyden, Munich 1999, page 75

in respect of “The Atelier Campin” at Tournai

Before the Background of
what makes for Jerusalem’s Immortalness

And Full of Nuance
the Incidental Light from above

Johann Elias Ridinger (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). In manus tuas com(m)endo Spiritum meum et hæc dicens expiravit. Luc. 23. Christ left alone in his hour of Good Friday darkened by clouds and looking up to the right, at its foot

death’s-head & bones , persisting

Johann Elias Ridinger, Snake and Skull (detail Crucifixion)

hissing snake & tempting apple

as referring company .

Broadly situated behind the Temple Mount with adjoining locality laterally left. Mezzotint. Inscribed: I. N. R. I. at the top of the cross / I. El. Ridinger excud. A. V., otherwise as above. 20⅜ × 15⅜ in (51.7 × 39.2 cm).


Counts Faber-Castell

their Ridinger sale 1958
with its lot no. 136
on the underlay carton

Radulf Count of Castell-Rüdenhausen


Th.-Stillfried (1876) & Schwarz (1910) 1408; Faber-Castell 136; Wend, Ergänzungen zu den Œuvreverzeichnissen der Druckgrafik, I/1 (1975), 153.

Not in Thienemann (1856), Weigel, Art Stock Catalog, division I-XXVIII (1838/57), Silesian Ridinger Collection at Boerner XXXIX (1885; “of greatest richness … [many rarities]”), Coppenrath Collection (1889 f.), Reich auf Biehla Collection (1894; “Of all [R. collections on the market] since long time there is none standing comparison even approximately with the present one in respect of completeness and quality … especially the rarities and undescribed sheets present in great number”), Gg. Hamminger (1895), Helbing XXXIV (Arbeiten von J. E. und M. E. Ridinger, 1900), Rosenthal, Ridinger list 126 (1940).

Fine black impression rich in contrast – full of nuance the incidental light from above – with WANGEN watermark as standing for contemporary impressions with margins of 7-10 mm running around. In the left half, optically disguised by the mezzotint technique, slightly waved and generally spotted as little perceptible in the subject. A throughout fine general impression maintained though. And Thienemann (1856) & Sandrart (1675) as above

“ The mezzotints are almost not available in the trade anymore

… all worked by and after Joh. El. Ridinger (are) that rare ” & only 50-60 good impressions possible. Here then the copy counts Faber-Castell

of one of Ridinger’s nine crucifixions
in their again and again varying fascination of the event .

Offer no. 14,863 / EUR  890. / export price EUR  846. (c. US$ 1073.) + shipping

ridinger — great in his vanitates , too

Show Piece
of a Great Rarity of Natural History

and additionally grangerized with a vanity symbol of degree
conceivably seldom already in a paper impression …
but here then now the original printing-plate!!

Johann Elias Ridinger (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). This Stag of 14 Points and still an End under the Rose with only 3 Legs had been hunted near Meiches (near Lauterbach, Hesse) in 1748 by the reigning Landgrave (Louis VIII) of Hesse-Darmstadt after it had been seen in such a way a whole year long … How it may had happened and how the creature may had cured itself … what human may be able to heal himself suchlike. / Ditto this fawn with three legs by nature and only the trace of a claw at the thorax had been hunted at Geißlingen (between Stuttgart & Ulm) in 1739 by Martin Bückle, forest ranger at Amstetten. Furthermore there is a second calf with lamed forelegs. All in an extensive park in front of a plateau with stoop and large fountain. But right in front a lying vase

whose “ lower part is broken .

Johann Elias Ridinger, Stag with Three Legs

It has no stem , too , on which it can stand ”

(Wolfgang Weitz, Der Hirsch mit 3 Läufen aus Meiches, in Aus der Jagdgeschichte des Vogelsberges, Museum Jagdschloß Kranichstein 2006, p. 21). Copper printing plate in reverse by Martin Elias Ridinger (1731 Augsburg 1780). Inscribed: M. E. Ridinger sculps. Aug. Vind., otherwise in German as abridged before and, for his father’s “signature”, below. 14 × 10½ in (35.7 × 26.8 cm).

The already as paper impression most seldom work

(“When in 1999 I have presented together with Mrs. Gisela Siebert D. Ph. [†] the work ‘Ridinger, Bilder zur Jagd in Hessen-Darmstadt’ all relevant engravings of the Ridinger family actually should have been dealt with. However, one engraving was missing nonetheless [Siebert-Weitz p. 21], that is the one on which three pieces red deer are reproduced: A Stag with 3 Legs, a Fawn with three Legs, and a further calf … In the meantime the sheet could be acquired [in this place] by myself. Now its commentary can be made good”, Weitz, op. cit., p. 18; bold types not in the original)

here then as a ne plus ultra in its optically excellently preserved

original printing plate

in the reddish golden brilliance

of its 230-240 years old copper

to sheet XIII (Thienemann & Schwarz 356; Ridinger Catalog Darmstadt, 1999, V.21; Weitz, op. cit., pp. 18 ff.; the latter two respective with ills.) of the Special Events and Incidents at the Hunt – “the rarest set of Ridinger’s sporting line engravings” , Schwerdt 1928 – , worked into the copper (etching & engraving) exclusively by Johann Elias’ eldest, Martin Elias, widely after his father’s designs from especially 1752/53 (so Schwarz by the drawing dates of the set) and completed in 1779, in which “in addition to truly ‘special events’

also depictions of zoological peculiarities

similar to the ‘Most Wondrous Deer’ stand … By the references on landgrave Ludwig VIII in some of the inscriptions the set is besides the latter

an important document

for the co-operation of the Ridinger studio with the court of Hesse-Darmstadt” (Stefan Morét in Catalogue Darmstadt, p. 113).

The field-names of the surroundings of Meiches mentioned in the caption as so not existing obviously given back faulty by Ridinger.

Thematic support finally following more recent observation:

“ (In the Funtenlake area was a chamois buck who lacked the foreleg. This 3-leg buck was the chief buck during a whole rutting season. In the next rutting season he was not seen generally. But in the year after next he stood at the same rutting place again and in spite of his three legs he chased away all stronger rivals with such rigor, that none could dispute to him the range as place buck … One could see how most energetic will and resoluteness can compensate for disability [Thomas Mann once titled a foreword to a respective publication with “Throw Away your Crutches”]. In the same year then the deadly bullet struck the heroic buck) ”

(Hans Fuschlberger, Das Gamsbuch, Munich 1939, p. 123, paragraph 1 quoting Hauber, Das Gamswild, without bibliographical notes).

Darüberhinaus  als analog zum Geschehen

Johann Elias Ridinger, Broken Vase
“… Auch sie hat keinen Fuß, auf dem sie stehen kann”

the broken vase

as of greatest bearing for the “minimized Ridinger”

(so the title of the art-historical speech delivered here to the audience of the Ridinger ceremonial act of the Technische Universität Dresden on the 300th Ridinger Birthday; enlarged online version), who adds to the manifold symbols of vanity of his œuvre beyond all the pure ones by this pictorial signature a standing leg defying any discussion and in such a way manifests his artistic genius sui generis. See hereto then also the lecture here Die Vanitas-Symbolik bei Johann Elias Ridinger to the audience of the 6th annual meeting of the European Dance Macabre Association at Bamberg in 2000 (partly illustrated version in L’Art Macabre 2 – Yeasrbook of the European Dance Macabre Association, Düsseldorf 2001, pp. 94 ff.; enlarged and revised online version).

Johann Elias’ authorship of present work

thus ascertained as the consequence of its own and at the same time confirms the conclusion drawn by Weitz from Thienemann’s nevertheless only general statement (“Thienemann [p. 81] thinks, Johann Elias Ridinger or the Darmstadt court painter Georg Adam Eger [1727-1808] should have been the draughtsmen [of the Incidents set]. Yet as Eger is not stated as draughtsman one has to regard Johann Elias Ridinger as the supplier of the design. Any time Eger has appeared as draughtsman he the Ridingers designate him as such”, op. cit., p. 18).

One of the few thematic lone wolves of the set which otherwise is “arranged almost throughout so that always two by two harmonize with each other and form pendants, just as they have been sold in pairs, too. Formerly they all were characterized by Roman numbers. If they are missing, so this indicates later impressions” (Th. p. 81). Such concerns particularly seven sheets which have been taken over in exchange for others in a later new edition of the Most Wondrous Deer. As then the plate here, too, whose original “XIII” in the mid of the upper edge is, invisibly on the subject side, polished out and replaced by a “91” above left.

Both artistically and thematically an ace ,

the plate is a priceless, worldwide unique collector’s object par exellence and here traced back far beyond Thieme-Becker (vol. XXVIII, 1933, p. 308) & Thienemann (1856, p. XXIII) seamlessly directly to the master’s estate itself. For

“ Preserved original 18th century printing-plates

are of great rarity ”

(Morét, op. cit., pp. 62 f. See also the plates there I.13, I.8 & I.11, color ills. 6 & b/w ills. pp. 63 f.).

And especially on Ridinger’s :

“ Of the high technical and qualitative standard of the works of Ridinger and his sons collaborating in the workshop especially as engravers the (only very partially) preserved printing-plates bear witness still to-day. ”

In the same sense then already before Bernadette Schöller in Der Kölner Graphikmarkt zur Zeit Wenzel Hollars within Wenzel Hollar – Die Kölner Jahre ed. by Werner Schäfke, Cologne 1992, p. 19:

“ The copper plates

which due to both their raw material value and the working time invested therein, too,

enjoyed a far higher esteem

than, for instance, a preparatory drawing handled only too often disrespectfully … ”

As then elsewhere, too: “The Nuremberg publisher Frauenholz was so taken with this work that he acquired the plate from Reinhart (1761-1847) for a considerable sum” (Teeuwisse III [2007], 29).

Or Adrian Zingg, whom during his Paris years (1759/66) the great Wille ultimately paid “up to a thousand pound for the plate” while “for the accuracy with which he executed his works … nevertheless could not cover his expenses”. So this towards Hagedorn – to whom Ridinger dedicated his set The Deer’s Four Times of Day as the one and only own dedication – as director general of the arts in Saxony for the purpose of putting through his requests for employment in Dresden:

“ The work was agreed upon when I started it, and all the time spent much more time than I had expected at the beginning, and sacrificed of my own money, to finish the work to my liking ”

(Erwin Hensler in the explanatory notes to the 1923 facsimile edition of Zingg’s album, p. 4).

2011 the Cultural Endowment of the State of Lower Saxony

– Foundation Lower Saxony –

swept by its sudden acquisition of 104 ( sic !! ) plates

for the exquisite Brunswick Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum – not least, as the most striking, the greater part of the plates to the legendary 101-sheet set of the Most Wondrous Deer – irrecoverably from the market.

Establishing by this spectacular bleeding at the same time

Ridinger as the High in the North !

Analogously it was said here on occasion of the re-emergence of parts of the so-called Thieme-Becker block of Ridinger’s printing plates “One of the most sensational discoveries of art history … Ridinger’s original printing (sic!!!) plates”.

At which not only after realization here the impact of the eldest, Martin Elias, as the etcher/engraver of present plate on the Ridinger œuvre far exceeds that of just an engaged co-worker. Already at the age of thirty he downright acted as a spiritus rector behind the scene, ensuring that sets as for instance the 101-sheet Most Wondrous Deer, of the final 27 plates of which Martin Elias worked no less than 21, either were not aborted or, as here, published posthumously. So from mostly his father’s designs he worked all plates of the Special Incidents, too. Without him also the plate offered to you here would not exist!

And as Wolf Stubbe (Joh. El. Ridinger, Hamburg/Berlin 1966, pp. 16 f. & pl. 34), going in medias res, celebrates Th. 722, The Wild Buffalo and the Crocodile, from the Fights of Killing Animals as an artistic zenith of the late work in respect of its luminous efficiency, he pays tribute together, because judging by the plate, not the drawing, to Martin Elias as the etcher/engraver of that work. An aspect illustrating deeply the Ridinger teamwork.

Sheltered from tarnishing by fine application of varnish

the plate is printable generally in the ordinary course of its use during the times. But it is offered and sold as a work of art and an object of collecting. Thus without prejudice to its final printing quality. Shortly,

a conceivably enjoying , worldwide unique absolutum .

Proposed to you with the recommendation of a timeless-elegantly frameless hanging (fittings included) for that you will experience the reflection of the respective light to the fullest.

Offer no. 14,984 / price on application

« John Pierpont Morgan

… did not want to buy cheap ,

but good value

and purchased only the best

which was offered to him »

Hans Bohatta


Löffler-Kirchner, Lexikon des gesamten Buchwesens, vol. II, p. 486

Johann Elias Ridinger (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). S. Franciscus Seraphicus. Saint Francis of Assisi in three-quarter figure to the right, praying before opened book with inscription “DEUS MEUS ET OMNIA.”, death’s-head & crucified seraph beside boulder overgrown with grass on top as attribute of the wilderness “as the effective ideal for saints doing penance” (Nicole Hartje). The right of the folded hands with stigma. Mezzotint by Johann Jacob Ridinger (1736 Augsburg 1784). Inscribed: Ioh. Iac. Ridinger sculps. / Ioh. El. Ridinger exc. Aug. Vind. / S. | FRANCISCUS | SERAPHICUS. (in the upper loop of the otherwise empty mussel-shaped cartouche in the broad lower edge). 21½ × 16¾ in (54.6 × 42.5 cm).


Counts Faber-Castell

their Ridinger sale 1958
with its lot no. 115
on the underlay carton

Radulf Count of Castell-Rüdenhausen


Compare Th. 1288 (c. 20¾ × 15⅜ in [52.6 × 39.1 cm]; without the engraver’s signature of Johann Jacob and only “A. V.” instead of “Aug. Vind.”; not mentioned book inscription & rock staffage; cf. Schwarz 1543, however not identical with Schwarz 1288 just for the format) – Schwarz 1288 (24⅜ × 19½ in [61.8 × 49.5 cm]; without the book inscription, but with the boulder background; shortened signature as Th. 1288, its identity provisionally questioned by Schwarz) – Schwarz 1543 (22¼ × 16¼ in (56.4 × 41.2 cm]; with book inscription, but without the boulder, shortened signature as before, but “excud.” instead of only “exc.”).

Reich auf Biehla 250 (“Extremely rare”, 1894! Without state detail & “Somewhat damaged.” ); Faber-Castell 115 (negligently as version Schwarz 1288). – As erroneously taking Th. & Schwarz 1288 for identical not in Wend, Ergänzungen zu den Œuvreverzeichnissen der Druckgrafik, I/1 (1975).

Not in Weigel, Art Stock Catalog, pts. I-XXVIII (1838/57), Silesian Ridinger collection at Boerner XXXIX (1894); collections Coppenrath (1889 f.) & Hamminger (1895), Helbing XXXIV (Arbeiten von J. E. und M. E. Ridinger, 1900) & Rosenthal, Ridinger list126 (1940).

Johann Elias Ridinger, Francis of Assisi

Undescribed variant

to Th. 1288 , Schwarz 1288 & 1543

of the fine large sheet of the founder of the Franciscan order

(1182-1226) in heavy penitential robe the cowl turned back with clear reference to his vision of a crucified seraph who “impressed (on him) under burning pain Jesus’ stigmata from which he got the name of the seraphic father, his order that of the seraphic brothers.”

Very fine, highly nuanced impression. And the intellectual content of the physical message reflected by the chiaroscuro. – With WANGEN watermark along with secondary mark as standing for contemporary impressions. The surrounding margin unevenly trimmed between the short extreme of 1 mm and 15 mm with mostly 10-15 mm on three sides. Two longer and three short traces of tears, each only minute, professionally restored and therefore without noticeably impairing of the also with respect to preservation very fine general impression. Backed besides three tiny tears in the white margin.

Offer no. 14,860 / EUR  1730. / export price EUR  1644. (c. US$ 2084.) + shipping

From aforementioned contribution

The Vanitas Symbolism with Johann Elias Ridinger

in L’Art Macabre 2

“ To the outsider it seemed remarkable to serve present (that is of the attendees of the 6th annual meeting of the German section of the Association Danses Macabres d’Europe) quite particular expectations with an artist whose fame of having been the best in his métier in the 18th century — and certainly far beyond — is founded on his animal depictions; yet certainly not on such downright ultimate, intellectual, products of the human mind as which art history pays sincere reverence from time immemorial to the artistic creation of the transient with la danse macabre as zenith.

And yet with Ridinger’s (drawn) Self-portrait with Death (printroom of Berlin State Muse-ums) we meet an artist whose intellectual and therewith also artistic complexity again and again surprises even the initiated and conducts to pastures new. For by no means this fantastic self-portrait, created immediately before his death, were just the single product of a 70-year-old now meditating about ultimate concerns, whose calm reaction reminds of Lessing, whereupon death as such is nothing terrible. Indeed there are infinite ways of dying, ‘but it is only one death’. ”

(Translation by Jan Hendrik Niemeyer)

“ Many years ago I bought from you the print/litho from Mourot ‘Sophia....’ We are still very happy with this acquisition. For my collection and family history/genealogy I am looking for some very special prints … ”

(Mijnheer P. van de W., May 19, 2012)