“ The Similarity of the Portrait
by the Artist in this Rôle
with the Original of Richelieu is striking ”
Richelieu – Kaiser – Mondecaus. Wilhelm Kaiser as RICHELIEU in Albert Emil Brachvogel’s tragedy at the Berlin Royal Theater. Glazed colored lithograph printed with tone plate after a drawing by Herbert König (“… his character heads from the theatrical circles and his portraits of famous contemporaries met with great approval at his time”, [Thieme-Becker XXI, 153]; Dresden 1820 – Niederlößnitz 1876) for Louis Veit, Berlin. (1859/60.) 9 × 5¾ in (23 × 14.7 cm). – Sheet 45 of the Lipperheide set Ucd 19 on light cardboard.
“ Brachvogel’s tragedy Mondecaus … gave the artist … rich opportunity to present his talent for a certain, sharply marked genre of historical personalities. In all other plays in which the famous and notorious statesman appears there is more or less made allowance for a certain one-sidedness of the character, while Brachvogel succeeded in illustrating the purely human beside the intellectual, sharp gift and the clever use of this gift. The contrasts of the cool prudence in the speech, contrary to the momentarily emerging warmer emotion, impart to the character a variation of light and shadow by which the picture creates great interest, and raising the compassion from moment to moment, keeps alive in all stages of the character sketch.
“ The impression which the outer appearance of Wilhelm Kaiser in this rôle has is imposing. In the high figure lies decency and nobility, making evident the power the important statesman was able to command about his entourage, even about the monarch whom he represented in all matters of the state …
“ The costume shows the cardinal’s house dress (thus with the ribbon of the Order of the Holy Ghost of 1633) … The similarity of the portrait by the artist in this rôle with the original of Richelieu is striking. ”
Salomon de Caus (Mondecaus, Caulx, Caux, Cauls; Dieppe 1576 – Paris 1626), as Huguenot 1612 emigrated to England, went on to Heidelberg in 1614, where he built parts of the castle for Elector Frederick V of Palatinate and foremost planned the gardens, then praised as eighth Wonder of the World, yet known practically only by the Hortus Palatinus published 1620 at Frankfort, as the beginning of the Thirty Years’ War prevented the execution of the plans. Subsequently he returned to France as architect and engineer to Louis XIII. However, his plans met with no applause. “1624
he dedicates to Richelieu a treatise on sundials ”
(Liliane Châtelet-Lange, Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon XVII , p. 343).
A treatise on a device to lift water by steam pressure had Arago erroneously claim Caus as inventor of the steam-engine for France in 1829.
Brachvogel (Breslau 1824 – Berlin 1878) celebrated, after several fiascoes, 1856 by the performance of “Narcissist” “one of the greatest stage successes in more recent times … Also in his next tragedies … ‘Mon de Caus’ (1859), the drama of the genius who is ahead of his time and, not understood, perishes at the ingratitude of his contemporaries … B. showed great skills for theatrical effects” (Meyers Konv.-Lex. III , p. 299), yet without being able to resume the success of “Narcissist”.
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(Herr D. B., 9. Oktober 2006)