Fought with the Grand Coalition against Prussia
and at the Same Time Most Refined Nimrod of His Age
And here then
with 31 × 24⅜ in (78.7 × 61.8 cm) as monumental as rare
Fiedler’s Portrait of Louis VIII of Hesse-Darmstadt
Louis VIII of Hesse-Darmstadt – Fiedler, Johann Christian (Pirna 1697 – Darmstadt 1765). Ludovicvs VIII. D. G. Landgravius Hassiæ. Princeps Hersfeldiæ, Comes in Catimeliboco, Decia, Ziegenhaina, Nidda, Schaumburgo, Ysenburgo et Budinga. etc(.) Sacre Cæsareæ ac Regiæ et Bohemicæ Majestatis Suprem(us) Campo Mareschall(us) et cohortis Dimarcháru(m) summ(us) Præfectus. In the stage-like foreground 65.5 cm in full figure in great attitude slightly to the right, but looking to the left. In cuirass with the baton in the right, the Danish Order of the Elephant (as the highest Danish order) at the Blue Sash and a star around the neck, the far-stretched left pointing at the deeply staggered cavalry battle in the parquet. On his right before the draped heavy curtain a state-table comes into the picture whose two visible claw feet enclose standing balls. Correspondingly the side adorned by the front of the Hessian lion with sword. On the table itself ermine coat flowing far down to the floor, tricorne + hussar helmet and beside further ribbon particularly the star belonging to the Order of the Elephant. In the center of the text pedestal the coat of arms below the princely hat hold by two lions. Mezzotint by Johann Jacob Haid (Kleineislingen 1704 – Augsburg 1767). Inscribed: Johann Christian Fiedler pinx. / Joh. Jacob Haid, sculps. Aug. Vind(.), otherwise as above. Sheet size 31 × 24⅜ in (78.7 × 61.8 cm).
Not in the portrait catalogs Drugulin (1860 ff.; 24000 sheet just in its General part) + Zentralantiquariat Leipsic I-III (1962/70; 13000 sheet) , not in Weigel’s Art Stock Catalog I-XXVIII (1838/57) and further important print catalogs more , also not listed in Nagler + Thieme-Becker per Fiedler and Haid (1837 and 1915/22 resp.) resp. Also no suggestive illustration in Gisela Sieberth, Kranichstein (1969), and Ridinger Catalog Darmstadt (1999) resp. There only the reverse painting on glass by Spengler as half-length figure (color ills. p. 78) supposedly having its origin in Fiedler’s painting and a half-length portrait from Fiedler’s workshop (p. 39, ills. 6) resp.
Fiedler’s imperial portrait
of the great Louis VIII
in Haid’s adequate depiction
as a typographic One-Plate – Monument sui generis
reaching beyond personal + local interest .
Worked after one of Johann Christian Fiedler’s paintings of Louis, since 1717 prominent as miniaturist and furthered by the court in Brunswick by several years’ stay in Paris together with the promise of subsequent appointment as court painter in Wolfenbüttel, who on his return in 1724 then wounded up in Darmstadt where in 1726 he advanced to court painter and in 1754 to supreme, cabinet, and court painter and evolved especially as portraitist. And as also documented by the portrait present
“ … the praised similarity of his portraits is due to sober sharpness of observation and firm drawing … His exceedingly fruitful activity as portrait painter was not limited to Darmstadt, he has worked also at the courts at Mayence, Schlangenbad, Zweibrücken, Erlangen ”
(Thieme-Becker XI , 538 f.). – Numerous illustrations of his works per Collection Prehn in the 1988 catalog Bürgerliche Sammlungen in Frankfurt (Main) 1700-1830 of the Historic Museum there.
Reproduced in the mezzotint manner esteemed + desired for both its technical expressiveness and its technically conditioned smallest editions which Ridinger’s then also by himself renown pupil Johann Jacob Haid – “Some time ago our city and the whole learned Germany
has lost 2 famous artists
Mr. Joh. Ridinger … and Mister Joh. Jac. Haid … ”
(so the joint obituary in the Augsburg papers of December 29, 1767) – discovered as his field quite early with again portraiture as the center (“above all known for his portrait engravings [according to Nagler about 300], which pass on to us in picture a great number of his most important contemporaries … He worked after own designs as after pictures of renown painters of his time”, Thieme-Becker 1922). Twice he also created the portrait of Fiedler. And here then the latter’s principal, the “Hunting Landgrave”
Louis VIII of Hesse-Darmstadt
(1691 Darmstadt 1768, ruling since 1738, “the greatest nimrod of his time”, Hofmann,
married in 1717 Countess Charlotte of Hanau-Lichtenberg [1700-1726])
the famous son
of Dorothea Charlotte of Brandenburg-Ansbach
(1661-1705) in full outfit as commander-in-chief – so in the Seven Years’ War on the side of Austria – certainly, but covered by the lasting fame as one of the most refined princes of his time, ultimately living the motto of the high Danish order visibly esteemed by him Magnanimi pretium – The Reward of the High-Minded. While his support of the arts was great, so his imaginativeness proverbial:
“ Again and again (he) invented new equipment and tools for the hunt … He owned game transport carriages and mobile hunting-lodges which could be heated. Furthermore carriages with swivel-chairs to be able to shoot to all sides. Besides vehicles, too, on which one sat astraddle on a center part covered with leather and which had a compartment for the hounds at the rear end ”
(Hofmann, Guide through the Museum Hunting Seat Kranichstein, p. 8).
In this context it also should be thought of that small stool in the hunting parlor in Kranichstein with its four leather-bound volumes “whose title is ‘Voyage des Pays bas’. This ‘Voyage through the Netherlands’ turns out to be a room toilet though”. Also the bedrooms there “– one may hear and be amazed – had already in the year 1568 its own toilet each what was barely imaginable for those days” (Hofmann pp. 11 + 13). And not least initiated by him the paintings on sheet metal by the court hunting painters dedicated to the peculiarities of the hunt as today’s market rarities.
And just as his painters secured finest co-operation also from the outside – so with the Ridingers in Augsburg also involved in the metal plate paintings, whose most important block among the works which can be personally ascribed to not accidentally falls on Hesse-Darmstadt – so in respect of battle scenes that of the local
Baron Christian of Löwenstern
(1701 Darmstadt 1754), generally closely connected with the court at Darmstadt and, like Goethe, an amateur artist also active as poet & composer, with most extensive painted œuvre
“ of richly composed battle scenes in the manner of (Jacques) Courtois (1621-1675; ‘were esteemed and admired already by his contemporaries for the immediate freshness and liveliness of conception and rendition, as well as the masterly capture of the atmospheric ambience … was one of the first plein-air painters’, Th.-B. VII , 591 f.), hunting pieces, and portraits … For the famous art clock (Louis VIII) presented Maria Theresa with (and had it conveyed in 1750 by his court hunting painter, the young Georg Adam Eger) L(öwenstern) worked both the first two designs.
In some portraits of his friend Joh. Chr. Fiedler L. painted the battle scenes
in the background , so established for the landgrave’s portrait of 1741
(present?) … Main work: Battle at Dettingen, painted for the landgrave in 1746. 200 of such ‘battle and horse pieces’ were in the possession of the wife of hunting master von Reischbach … Fiedler painted his portrait, engraved in mezzotint by J. J. Haid (pupil and subsequently still journeyman with Ridinger, creator of his portrait both in oil and as ‘programmatic mezzotint’ [Gode Krämer]) ”
(Thieme-Becker XXIII , 328).
So then he also painted instantaneously from life “This Young Leopard Horse (with the black ear bouquet) bred at Oranien=Polder a village not far from Delft in the province of Holland … has been paid for as a rarity very dearly by the manorial family of counts Promnitz from Silesia on their Dutch journey 1743”, the portrait of which Ridinger father transferred into copper in 1745.
Very fine impression rich in contrast
of for sheets of this oversize generally still very fine preservation, yet trimmed to subject/plate edge as generally frequent with mezzotints. On the back the (glue) marks of obviously previous mounting in a frame. The done varied especially margin tears of up to 8 cm barely perceptible as disturbing from the front, as the sheet then generally presents itself as taken care of. Standing for
REPRESENTATION & SELF-ASSUREDNESS ,
ART , SKILL & COMMAND OF THE MATERIAL
Thereby remaining almost unknown . Up to specialists of our days .
Offer no. 15,271 / sold
Martin Elias Ridinger’s equestrian portrait of Louis VIII
after Georg Adam Eger
“ … and I wish to thank you for packing it so carefully … ”
(Mr. P. M., August 28, 2003)