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 progress 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$ 1428.) + shipping

“Death’s Arch of Triumph”

Exceedingly Rare for Andreani —
Johann Elias Ridinger, Triumph of Death (after Andrea Andreani)
Almost Unique for Ridinger

Johann Elias Ridinger (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). Triumph of Death. Engraving & etching after Andrea Andreani (Andrea Mantuano & further variant forms; 1558/59 Mantua 1629) by means of the second state of the latter’s chiaroscuro woodcut from 1588 worked from a drawing by Giovanni Fortuna Fortunius (1535 Siena 1611). Inscribed: Joh. El. Ridinger excud. Aug. Vind. Sheet size 22½ × 16 in (57 × 40.6 cm).

Buijs (ed.), Un Cabinet Particulier. Les estampes de la Collection Frits Lugt, 2010, nos. 10 (Andreani; Allégorie de la mort/Memento mori; heavily restored; acquired 2005 via sponsor at € 25000) & 10a (Ridinger, this copy) with illustrations.

Unknown to the relevant literature on Ridinger

up to Wend, Ergänzungen zu den Œuvreverzeichnissen der Druckgrafik (1975), Niemeyer, Die Vanitas-Symbolik bei Joh. El. Ridinger (in L’Art Macabre, vol. 2, 2001) and the authoritative catalogs of collections, sales, and exhibitions from Weigel (1838) till the present except for the torso with formerly Count Radulf of Castell-Rüdenhausen trimmed with significant loss of image. Thematically, however,

in its iconographic wealth unrivalled

by the core of his partly extremely rare, yet indeed still known mementi, the mezzotints Th.-Stillfried 1426-1431. And compositionally far from the latter two of these, the brutally realistic ones worked by Johann Jacob after Dieffenbrunner (1430 f.). Here then

the Memento Mori as piece of virtuosity ,

as intellectual challenge combined with an expressive-charming plasticity.

By its size visibly larger

than Andreani’s model created in his best period or Edmé Moreau’s deviating version adduced below (20¼ × 13¾ and 20¾ × 13¼ in [51.6 × 34.9 and 52.7 × 33.5 cm] resp.), the former of which here traceable in innumerable Old Master catalogs of recent decades in but one copy of the 2nd state, increasing the estimate almost fivefold (1994; present Lugt copy). As a whole then also missing amongst the not identical seven Andreani prints each in the collections Lanna (1895, + 3 variants) & Davidsohn (1920/21).

This extreme rareness of Andreani’s print

( already in 1858 Nagler, Monogramisten I, 86: very rare )

imparts Ridinger’s sheet an additionally high evidence .

Andreani’s generally only small œuvre today estimated at c. 70 works (AKL, 1990, and

“ his work is to be valued as historically and art-historically significant today” as Nagler, Monogramisten I, 86, stated already in 1858: “… the extraordinary activity of a man … about whom was often judged too severely since Bartsch … Andreani has to be looked at from a different viewpoint …“ and in the same place per 1017: “the famous form cutter” ),

of which a major part falls into the time after 1600 though when he was active in Mantua as dealer and publisher only, nonetheless furnishing acquired blocks of other artists with his monogram. Yet two works from 1608 and 1610 resp. are considered as original again. Bartsch’s principle stock of 25 plus the two aforesaid later ones supposedly still current (cat. Lugt, 2010: 25). Unaffected by this yet his

Triumph of Death ,

symbolized by means of an architectural façade, read by Achim Gnann (ALBERTINA Coll. Online, 2013) as “in the manner of a sepulchral monument”, identified in Moreau’s version, see below, as arch of triumph. With a death’s head mounted sculpturally in conjunction with a canopy onto an escutcheon, through the mouth of which a snake coils as here “embodiment of sin and death” (Riese, see below), as head piece below an hourglass from which two skeleton arms reach upwards, holding a heavy rock to hurl, as documented by literature taken from Hans Holbein’s II Arms of Death of the Dance Macabre set of c. 1525. Below in a rotunda the three fates. On both sides each obelisk with Greek caption – ΜΝΗΜΟΝΕΥΕ ΑΠΟΨΥΧΕΙΝ / Remember you have to die – and variedly acting death’s head below the cross at the top and two likewise varying skulls by the pedestal. On the square stones below, supported partly by two skeletons in place of columns, ITER AD VITAM / Way to Life.

On both sides beyond these skeletons escutcheons hanging down with the inscription BONIS BONA (Good Things to the Good) and MALIS MALA (Bad Things to the Bad) resp. Inwards the friends flank the

Wheel of Death , of Luck , of Lifetime

placed immediately below the three fates spinning the thread of life. Joining in the hub, its eight spokes labeled on-topic, with each closing word missing the suffix mus:

Vnde superbi / Vt deo placea / Et ideo studea / Terra est quasi fi / Cum nos Terra si / Mortem vitare nequi / De limo homo pri / Quid est nisi li.

Its completion is provided with Andreani — not with Ridinger! — and with the former also only in the 2nd, final state, see below, by Death sitting athwart on the hub, holding in his right a platelet with indeed the missing suffix MUS.

“ This arch is meant to be attached to the empty space in the center of the façade (in the 1st Andreani state), in such a manner that it can be turned around its pivot. By this the syllable mus supplements the eight different inscriptions, which in shape of just as many beams (sic, that is spokes) unite in the center ”

(Nagler, Künstler-Lexicon, IV [1837], 419 [Fortunus/Fortuna]; Sperrungen nicht im Orig.).

And in this regard now

Andreani-Ridinger, Wheel of Death

Ridinger surprises by entirely original deviation ,

for what reason soever. For that he should have missed the requirement of the mus, can be ruled out. Even more so as he replaces death & platelet on the wheel hub by independent inscription: running around in two lines by the edge



and as central inscription

SVM , / vertas , / omnib(us)q(e) idem .

SVM as at once mirror-inverted MVS !

Between the spokes the eightfold death. Representing above the clergy, below profanity. Inscribed running around STATVTVM EST OMNIBVS HOMINIBVS SEMEL MORI POST HOC AVTEM IVDICIVM / All men are destined to die and then the Day of Judgement expects them.

Embedded in foliage, see on this below with Moreau, sitting on both sides of the upper part of the wheel on the left Adam, on the right, with a yearning look while her left caresses her right breast in suggestive temptation, Eve offering the apple as the foundation of death. Adam, not looking at her, extends his left to her. The hands of both meet over a death’s head.

This group of the two carnal and skeletonized couples forms in their communication

the scenic event as such .

Both deaths push their bony elbows into the sides of the human couple. Of which Eve takes no notice. Correspondingly posture of the head & facial expression of her Goodman:

Oh , these women !

His pendant, however, talks to Adam man to man. Correspondingly thoughtful this with bowed head, additionally holding the right to his forehead in cogitation.

Below the wheel and at once above an open coffin with a deceased — indifferent with Andreani & Ridinger, with Moreau, see below, supposedly rather nun than monk; Gnann, see above, believes him to be a high clergyman — with cross in the hands the winged head of Father Time, that is Cronus as “Representation of the all-devouring time” (Riese, see below, p. 251), flanked on both sides by two large mourners above which are set on the left the head of a harp in gloriole, on the right an owl. The latter

“ In Egypt and India believed to be the bird of the dead, in antiquity it symbolized wisdom and was sacred to Athena. In Christian symbolism it is symbol of spiritual darkness, but also symbol of religious knowledge ”

(Riese, Seemann’s Lexikon der Ikonografie, 2007, page 110).

Right of the head end of the coffin the mask of a bearded old man. Before and below the coffin first a large cloth inscribed TRIA SVNT VERE QUAE ME FACIVNT FLERE / There are truly three things which make me weep:

Primum quidem durum , quia scio me moriturum . / Secundu(m) verò plango , quia moriar , et nescio quando . / Tertium autem flebo , quia nescio ubi manebo .

( First it is hard that I know I am going to die . / Second I weep because I have to die , but don’t know when . / Third , however , weeping because I don’t know what expects me . )

This inscription flanked by symbolized winged death, two small death’s heads at the bottom of the coffin as well as religious and profane (rapier & lance point) attributes of transitoriness along with two closed folios as connecting links. The rapier on elliptic bolster with probably monogram RH(A?)O(D?). Far outside on the pedestals of the two skeletons two little deaths standing, holding an oval tablet each: MEMENTO MORI & MEMORARE NOVISSIMA. The masonry by the way interspersed with signs of its transience.

“ 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

If Andreani’s so-called “Melancholy”, the woman meditating over a death’s head, is qualified as “artistically a main plate” with the addition “thematically extraordinary”, how much more so his “Allegory of Death” picked up here by Ridinger as a

“ pasticcio of iconographic , iconological , and artistic citations ”

As – Thieme-B. refer to “the great rarity of the sheets” –

exceedingly rare for Andreani and an almost unique for Ridinger

who generally follows the former with the significant aforesaid exception of the wheel’s center. Conspicuously omitted, too, yet the two genii of death with their reversed torches on the slopes of the gable on both sides of the rock-hurling Death, the obelisks without ornaments.

Here then present in fine, not quite contemporary impression on paper without line watermark and presumably WANGEN mark with fine margin running around the edge of the subject. Only here and there trimmed closely to this. The general certain marks of age countered by professional restorative means, as also the (water) blotchiness on the back shows through only partially quite faintly in the subject. In the hatched margin field lower right still faintly visible reference to the artist. In short,

a rarissimum without equal of fine general impression

as possible closure to the group of this “fascinating Allegory of Death” (Gnann) after Fortuna. According to a brief survey here the subject was adopted contemporarily to Andreani, too, by Matteo Florimi (Florini; 1580-1603; etching, 19½ × 13¼ in [49.4 × 33.8 cm]), likewise active at Siena, followed by Edmé Moreau’s (Châlons-sur-Marne 1597 – Reims 1660; engraving, E. Moreau fecit & ex. Cum priuilegio.; sheet size 20¾ × 13¼ in [52.7 × 33.5 cm])


Edmé Moreau, Arc Triomphal de la Mortwhere the latter, added rich lateral text aside, relocated essential accessories in an interesting way. So from the 2nd Andreani state Death sitting athwart in the center of the wheel himself to the top as rock-hurler in exchange for the hourglass there with its skeleton arms stemming the boulder and death’s head of the blazon, while the latter now rules the here, too, rounded center. This, however, not as wheel, rather – and this then the independent development – shaped from the branches of a complete Tree of Life, the top foliage of which being but a weakly motivated filler with Andreani/Florimi/Ridinger. And on both sides of the trunk hourglass and wheel with only seven spokes free of text and image. Dispensing with the mourners and Father Time, the dead person in full figure right below, with the head immediately below the right-hand wheel and thus reminding of St. Catherine. Laid besides without coffin on a drape falling far down as a symbol of mystery, divided by large cross with fourfold skull and sparser divine/profane attributes adjoining on both sides. The finish is a caption in four columns. – For above comparative illustration of the Moreau copy thanks goes to © Cabinet d’arts graphiques des Musées d’art et d’histoire, Genève, No d’inventaire: E 2011-0223

Here then now Ridinger’s version in greatest vicinity to Andreani/Futura as a

spectacular discovery

for which 14 ( sic! ) competitors scuffled! Afterwards the custodian of an important public collection: “So it was you who snatched the sheet from us.

Congratulations. I would have acquired it with pleasure, too. ”

Voilà !

Offer no. 29,077 / price on application

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 qualtiy … 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$ 922.) + 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 secured 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

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$ 1791.) + shipping

The Terrific Finale I

No Frills Fantastic Main Sheet

Johann Elias Ridinger (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). OMNIA MIHI SUBDITA. The Rule of Death. Tomb with death from whose head with an hour-glass adorned with bat wings on top a veil flows down on the back and laterally, enthroned above all the stuff of this world – represented outer right by a hemisphere – as there are gold, goods, seals & orders, crowns, scepter, orb & weapons, folios & cassock, scientific & agricultural instruments and nolens volens maulstick & palette with brushes. The right, however, holds a high tombstone, pointing with an arrow marked as “Presens” in the left at the inscription’s said final words OMNIA MIHI SUBDITA. Mezzotint & outline by Johann Jacob Ridinger (1736 Augsburg 1784). Inscribed: Ioh. Iac. Ridinger sculps. / Ioh. El. Ridinger delin. et exc. Aug. Vind., otherwise as above and below. 21⅞ × 16⅝ in (55.7 × 42.2 cm).


Counts Faber-Castell

their Ridinger sale 1958
with its lot no. 146/2
as well as by the collection in pencil “(Invoice of) 14/3 1914”
on the underlay carton

Radulf Count of Castell-Rüdenhausen


Stillfried (3rd appendix to Thienemann, 1876) & Schwarz (Gutmann Collection, 1910) 1427 (without reference to outline engraving), here though as state II (of II) as unbeknownst to either; Wend, Ergänzungen zu den Œuvreverzeichnissen der Druckgrafik, I/1 (1975), 290 with knowledge of Stillfried/Schwarz; Reich auf Biehla 296 (Extremely rare”, 1894! Without reference to state/version.); Georg Hamminger 1886 (erroneously as St. 1527; “Mounted. Of greatest rarity”, 1895! Ditto without knowledge of state/version); Faber-Castell 146 (without recognition as differing second state, otherwise together with Schwarz 1477); Niemeyer, Die Vanitas-Symbolik bei Johann Elias Ridinger in Wunderlich (ed.), L’Art Macabre 2, 2001, ill. p. 105 (copy of the National Print Room Munich).

Not in Thienemann (1856), Weigel, Art Stock Catalog, pts. I-XXVIII (1838/57), Silesian Ridinger collection at Boerner XXXIX (1885), Coppenrath Collection (1889 f.), Helbing XXXIV (Arbeiten von J. E. und M. E. Ridinger, 1554 items; 1900), Schwerdt (1928/35), Rosenthal, Ridinger list 126 (1940).

The second state as unbeknownst to both Stillfried and Schwarz

of the hitherto not recognized first version

of this incredibly fascinating sheet

from the plate shortened at top with at the same time modified signature, both according to the copy of the National Print Room Munich, too.

The reduction concerns 1.5 cm imageless filling of the plate above the arch. Within the signature the original “Iacob” & “excud.” are each abbreviated at “c”. If the deviations in writing and punctuation of the stone inscription, see below, quoted by Schwarz only partially are real or due to an incorrectness of Stillfried must largely be left aside. The comma in the 1st line after “curo” noted by both Stillfried and Schwarz missing in the copy here.

Schwarz’ presumption that the differences of his variant 1477 unbeknownst to Stillfried were merely due to the reworking of the plate is incorrect. As proven below it is a repeated version from its own plate with, however, a decisive re-attachment of weight in the inscription’s message.

Pictorially marvelous zenith

Johann Elias Ridinger, The Rule of Death

of Ridinger’s vanitates

also pervading the hunting œuvre

of great compositional abundance, based upon own design, and by inclusion of the painter’s tools with the attributes of transitoriness going beyond the drawing Self-portrait with Death of 1727 in the Berlin Print Room (color illustrations in L’Art Macabre 2, s. a., p. 94 & Ridinger Catalog Darmstadt, 1999, p. 54, as well as, b/w, per I.5, p. 61).

All in the radiating light of the one from whose head bat wings will lead away the run out hour-glass, the “Presens” arrow determines the direction and the “Preteritum” arrow points at the ground. But in the quiver there is the arrow “Futurum”, however this will ever appear. And its banner flies, contrarily to both the two others, in jolly assuredness.

The tomb inscription

as following, wherein the hyphens of the last words of the first five lines have to be replaced by a “lis” each, that of the following six by an “are” as globally illustrated laterally:

“ Sum qui non curo quis aut qua- / Nil mihi dignitas Papa- / Nec valet majestas Rega- / Stultus et sapiens æqua- / Dives et pauper est morta- / Non juvat hic se excus- / Nec ad Apostolicam sede(m) apell- / Dona promitere aut don- / Seu clam se velle alien- / Pacem non mecum est tract- / Nec dico quando quis vel qu- // OMNIA MIHI / SUBDITA ”.

The Present arrow run from the skeleton’s left pointed between the words OMNIA & MIHI. In the repetition Schwarz 1477 Ridinger has specified this message even more condensed as now the head of the arrow unmistakably points at the M of MIHI.

Provisionally for Stillfried’s quotation of the inscription the following variations of writing/punctuation shall be noted: comma after curo (so likewise in Schwarz, here missing), small letters for p, r, a in papa-, rega- & apostolicam, the bar over the e standing for the m in sede(m) expanded as m, promitere with double t, comma after quando, capitalization of only the O in OMNIA MIHI SUBDITA as well as final full stop.

The heavy stone slab itself typical for Ridinger as such one occurs repeatedly in his work up to the programmatic personal bookplate (Schwarz 1569) with his painter’s utensils where a boy armed with the maulstick holds it, manifesting the master’s absolute necessity of life: “Nulla dies sine linea” – No day without brush stroke. In the transitory junk of the sheet here the painter’s tools by the way once more a unison with Hogarth who closed his graphic work with the sheet of the Dying Time (Tail Piece, or The Bathos) of April 1764, thus six months before his death, on which, however, the palette additionally is demonstratively broken.

The both in print as preservation

very fine copy Counts Faber-Castell

in velvety brown-black with palpable chiaroscuro and the watermarks WANGEN and separate IV standing for contemporary impressions and surrounding margins of 4-8 mm. Both the two upper corners of it with backed tiny injury due to previous removal of old corner mounting on blue paper. On the left side besides backed minimal marginal tear outside of the platemark. In he lower left corner faint tidemark visible only in the white margin and the signature field. In the subject itself apart from that a small thin paper spot perceptible against the light only and a pinhead-small abrasion in the background of the vault.

The extreme rarity

of the sheet

magnified in the present case

by its 2nd state described here for the first time .

With regard to the precious mezzotint technique in general finally – in Faber-Castell’s written inventory present here stressed by exclamation mark & underline as “Schabk!” – already Thienemann (1856) & Sandrart (1675) resumed … see above.

“ 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 print room at Dresden … ”

(pages VIII & 270).

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.

So the sheet in question presented for the first time by Count Stillfried only 20 years after Thienemann’s print room visits. It documents the inseparable-multi-layered Ridinger, the artist in his entirety. For the “harmless“ Ridinger of common art historian’s judgement never existed thank goodness. Rather he remained

“ one of the few German baroque artists

… who … never fell into oblivion ”

(Rolf Biedermann, Meisterzeichnungen des deutschen Barock, 1987, p. 338).

1914 — 1958 — 2017

You have to be very young

should you think

you could wait and see with present sheet .

Offer no. 14,857 / 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

The Terrific Finale II

The No Frills Fantastic Main Sheet
now in Its Second Version identified for the First Time
in a Copy of Ultimate Beauty
and Graphically Most Brilliant Delicacy

– The same as above with the same provenance – 22½ × 16¼ in (57.3 × 41.4 cm) – , but now second version unbeknownst to Stillfried (1876) and also not recognized as such by Schwarz and identified here now for the first time as

repetition of the above with among others a decisive re-attachment of weight.

For Schwarz’ presumption that the differences of present variant 1477 are merely due to the reworking of plate 1427 is incorrect. As proven below it is a work from its own plate whose thematic spotlight elucidates by a minor shifting a more specified message:

the “Presens” arrow directed at the sheet’s title

Johann Elias Ridinger, Omnia Mihi Subdita (Schwarz 1427)
Schwarz 1427 / 14,857
Johann Elias Ridinger, Omnia Mihi Subdita (Schwarz 1477)
Stillfried/Th. & Schwarz 1477 / 14,858

no longer points between the words OMNIA & MIHI ,

but directly at the M of MIHI !

But also the spelling itself in slight variety.

While with respect to the presence of both variants, revealing the facts, the cataloguing for Faber-Castell was inadequate, so Schwarz’ erroneous assumption results just from his unawareness of that 1427’s second state of the plate shortened at top. For his variant 1477 represents in height the original format again, thus ends again just 1.5 cm above the arch. Whereas its width is c. 8 mm less with the result of a minor reduction of the image on both sides as missed by him. Just as generally the differing “small variants” (Schwarz) condense to a considerable, though only noticeable at repeated glance, mass which to confront with each other would lead too far here and not least reduce the joy, nay, the luck of own discovery for

the connoisseur

who “still believes in the importance of states”

(Max Lehrs 1922 in laudatory appraisal of Old Masters collector Julius Hofmann). What must be regarded as downright unfair with respect to the presence here of both variants, 1427 & 1477, and by this the chance

of acquiring both sheets ,

just as once Counts Faber-Castell

though still having been dependant on the chance of a second opportunity.

But on the pleasure of the chance to compare both sheets a satisfaction of quite a different quality is impending in the present case as not recallable offhand for any other case of Ridinger’s mezzotints. For at least in its second state present here 1427 simply uses engraved outlines for the realization of the thematically conditioned exceedingly complex picture

instead of working everything out of the gradation

of light and shade as the principle of mezzotint

like present “repetition” 1477! Where engraved lines partially inevitably lead to more detailed chasing it is fascinating to see its “rougher” realization

created just from the astonishingly difficult play

Johann Elias Ridinger, The Rule of Death

of light & shade .

And to observe comparatively how cheap such lines elsewhere, as indeed per 1427, too,

tick off drapery , knit Goodman Death’s brow

Johann Elias Ridinger, Omnia Mihi Subdita (Schwarz 1427)
Schwarz 1427 / 14,857
Johann Elias Ridinger, Omnia Mihi Subdita (Schwarz 1477)
Stillfried/Th. & Schwarz 1477 / 14,858

or treat his limbs + joints, which

in the pure mezzotint of grow out of itself !

Johann Elias Ridinger, Omnia mihi subdita I
Schwarz 1427 / 14,857
Johann Elias Ridinger, Omnia mihi subdita II
Stillfried/Th. & Schwarz 1477 / 14,858

Both versions are from Johann Jacob’s hand. To compare them with each other thus leads far beyond the side-by-side of deviations of usual kind, rather is a going into the medias res of the technique itself. What a chance of learning, of entering the subtlety of graphic expressiveness, of the refinement of understanding of quality!

With his comparatively only small mezzotinted contribution being so much in the shade of father and elder brother, with the present sheet of Schwarz 1477 Johann Jacob shows his equalness,

his whole mastership in the field of the brilliant mezzotint .

Margins 4-13 mm wide around with supposedly watermark WANGEN together with separate IV as standing for contemporary impressions. – Of two utterly smoothed out folds running at each other in the center one backed outer left with slight pleat. Two weak parallel traces of folding, all barely perceptible from the front, moreover at the upper edge of the subject, one of which still traversing the termination of the arch. In this also an uninked hair-line crack running out from a tiny pleat coming from the top originating from printing. A few pin-head/tip-small abrasions. The slight touch of foxing spots on the back below not showing through into the subject.

In such a manner then a trouvaille of round about extreme rarity and in a

really early impression

of incomparably beautiful plasticity

of absolute velvety brown and black

from which all bodily white shines in brown-white .

Offer no. 14,858 / price on application

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)

“ Received the 2 parcels yesterday in A. M. I am very pleased with the books as well as the condition of them. Thank you again … I hope we can do business again in the near future ”

(Mr. L. A. F., March 11 and 1 resp., 2001)