Now  in  the  Sequence  intended  by  Ridinger

Ridinger, Johann Elias (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). The Human Tempers. Set of 4 sheet of confronting “characteristic figures in scenic environs” (Schwarz) in mezzotint. Inscribed: Joh. Elias Ridinger inv. del. sculps. et excud. A.V. (sheet 4: Aug. Vind.), otherwise as below. 19⅝-19¾ × 14⅜-14½ in (49.8-50.2 × 36.6-36.9 cm).


Counts Faber-Castell

their Ridinger sale 1958
with its lot no. “92 (4)”
on the underlay cartons

Radulf Count of Castell-Rüdenhausen


Thienemann + Schwarz 1231, 1233, 1232, 1234; Counts Faber-Castell (1958) 92.

Neither  apart  nor  complete  in Weigel, Art Stock Catalogue, division I-XXVIII (1838/57; more than 1000 R. sheets of the etched/engraved work) , Silesian Ridinger collection at Boerner XXXIX (1885; “of greatest richness … Especially rich in number also  the  rare  mezzotints) , Coppenrath Collection (1889/90) , R. collection at Wawra (1890; besides 234 drawings 600 prints) , 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”; 1266 sheet plus 470 duplicates + 20 drawings) , R. catalogue Helbing (1900; 1554 nos.) , R. list Rosenthal (1940; 444 nos.).

The  rare  set  of  human  sensual  expression

with caption of 5 lines German-Latin each, by Thienemann listed as 2nd set of his group “Genre Pictures of Mixed Kind”, though in the sequence under neglect of – if present in his copy – the “No. 3.” lower center of the Joy sheet (1232) as only numbering, as likewise noted by Schwarz, from which Ridinger’s intention of a confrontation of the tempers of

Laughing – Terror  +  Joy – Rage

results as also not recognized by Schwarz.

The  Laughing .

“ Mouth and eye testify for the popular things, / So this letter contains, and because for the delight the breast, / Too narrow, so it breaks out into a gracious laugh, / And makes by this the joke aware by loud sound. ”

Richly draped young woman sitting at the source of a grotto with scenic view to both sides. – Not perceptible backing of a pinhead-small little hole in the center of the subject as well as small backing of a tear at the left platemark. Barely worth mentioning utterly smoothed out traces of folding.

Johann Elias Ridinger, The LaughingJohann Elias Ridinger, The Terror

The  Terror

“ When a panicky view falls into the eyes quickly, / The whole corpse freezes, the heart becomes a stone, / The mouth cries terribly, the features are distorted, / And from the fainting the mind turns up again slowly. ”

Lady sitting at the little table of a porch, seized by sheer terror as three merry mice jump out of a toilet box. – Rubbed impression, pervaded by utterly smoothed out little folds, impairing though 16 cm of a horizontal centerfold.

The  Joy

“ In what mood this one is discover hands, and feet, / Mouth, eye and brow shows of pure gaiety, / And that the heart runs over for delight and gracefulness, / Teaches mask and bright light, dedicated to pleasure service. ”

Joyously hopping young man amidst of rocky park architecture, a torch in the raised right, while the left waves a black mask over the head. To the right a thrown-over milk can-shaped tub. – Three backed little holes and a likewise small thin spot, neither one perceptible from front, in contrast to, though little impairing only, two utterly smoothed out vertical centerfolds.

Johann Elias Ridinger, The JoyJohann Elias Ridinger, The Rage

The  Rage.

“ The heart burns by fury, as lightning the eyes blaze, / The nose swells, the mouth pales and trembles, / The teeth gnashes, the tongue swears as together, / Till finally hand and sword are raised for the revenge. ”

Raving soldier with drawn sword, in the background burning town. – Rubbed impression, several repaired small(er) injuries, but only one of them perceptible only up to a point from the front. Backed corner tear off lower left, touching the J of the signature. Feeble vertical fold and some tiny folds utterly smoothed out, but perceptible.

All with WANGEN watermark as standing for contemporary impressions and surrounding margin of about 5-8 mm, only sheet four below somewhat less. Thebasically very fine print quality occasionally impaired by the respective state of preservation, the chiaroscuro very fine till shining, the rarity proverbial.

“ The  mezzotints – Thienemann  resumes –

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.

Offer no. 14,881 / price on application

“ It came!  My plate [already documented as lost] was delivered and it is in excellent condition. I cannot explain all of the delays or what happened. It is in the original packaging that you described and it was delivered by DHL, not the postal service (as  far as I can tell – it was left on the porch [!!]). So thank you and so glad that this long story has such a nice ending. It was nice dealing with you, thank you for the plate! ”

(Mrs. J. C., May 8, 2010)


The  Cream  of  the  Day