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Johann Elias Ridinger, Lions in a Landscape (Tableau de P. P. Rubens)

“ A Single Fine Sheet ” (1856)

“ Main Sheet ” (1889 & 1890)

The Rare Lions in a Landscape of the Rubens Workshop

Ridinger, Johann Elias (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). Tableau de P. P. Rubens. de la Galerie Roïale de Dresde. Haut 7. pieds 4. pouces Largo 13. pied 5. pouces (78¾ × 145½ in [200 × 369.5 cm]). Lions in a Landscape. At the center watching lion, on the right before a cavity lioness (Th. incorrectly: tigress) lactating three young ones and a second one preparing a hare for herself on the tree-covered hillside above. On the left in the middle distance before opening landscape a small lion hunt with hounds, horsemen – one already raising his spear for the shot – and on foot, the first of which blowing the horn. Quite in front several skull remains along with snake and two frogs, on the slope right a lizard. In the lower margin medallion with the Saxon-Polish dual coat-of-arms. Etching with engraving after painting from the workshop of Peter Paul Rubens (Siegen 1577 – Antwerp 1640) by means of the transfer drawing by Charles François Hutin (Paris 1717 – Dresden 1776). (1757.) Inscribed: C. Hutin del. / J. E. Ridinger sculps., otherwise as above in Italian-French parallel text. 12⅞ × 19⅝ in (32.7 × 49.7 cm).

Thienemann (“a single fine sheet”) & Schwarz 724; Nagler, Ridinger, 32 and, Rubens, p. 587 (see below); Weigel XXVIII, 41; Coppenrath (“Main sheet”) II, 1569 & III, 2003; Schwerdt III, 143; Rosenthal, (Ridinger) listing 126, 320; Ridinger catalog Kielce, 1997, 130 with ill. – Cf. Thieme-Becker XVIII, 189 (Hutin). – Not in Helbing, Arbeiten von J. E. und M. E. Ridinger (cat. XXXIV [1900], 1554 nos.!).

Voorhelm-Schneevoogt, Catalogue des estampes gravées d’après P. P. Rubens (1873), page 229, No. 37 ([Bartsch 25.] Chasse aux lions. Sur le devant se voit un lion, et une lionne qui allaite ses petits. Dans le lointain sont des chasseurs, qui poursuivent avec une meute un autre lion. J. E. Ridinger sculps. …).

Woermann, Katalog der Kgl. Gemäldegalerie zu Dresden (1887), p. 321 (Only workshop; Rubens’s own hand is not identifiable anywhere. The main group front right is borrowed from our Rubens’s picture no. 974. – Engraved by J. E. Ridinger …). – Rogner (ed.), Verlorene Werke der Malerei (1939-1945), 1965, p. 103 (Rubens workshop, Landscape with Wild Animals/Ebert p. 137, no. 982).

The large-size rendition

of the now lost monumental picture, showing first in the 1754 inventory of the Royal Gallery Dresden (II 272) as Rubens. Partly included in especially older literature as Lion Hunt, in respect of its but marginal prominence in the background this is not quite appropriate, yet foremost even misleading in regard of the actual, large-figure lion hunt in Dresden not engraved by Ridinger as besides mixed up by Nagler. In the Ridinger article (32) still listed apart as lion hunt, follow per Rubens (XIII, 587) first “Lions and tigers in a wilderness, in the background left a lion is pursued … Engraved by J. E. Riedinger”, then “Lions in a landscape, with a lioness with the young ones”, supposedly that lower right with Ridinger. Which latter Thienemann designates as tigress, as does Woermann, too, who also includes the second female with a hare in the fangs which Thienemann in turn sees as lioness. Both females, however, with the same features indicating them as lionesses. Voorhelm-Schneevoogt then without any mixing in of tigers.

Fact indeed that still in those days depictions of the foreign fauna frequently were based to some extent only on assured knowledge, as also the Ridingers state apologetically in the preamble to the Colored Animal Kingdom. All the more incomprehensible the lion-tiger mixture as expressed by the prompt mutation of the picture into a Landscape with Wild Animals. What only one, moreover nursing, “tigress” should do in a group of lions is disregarded by Thienemann who otherwise is quite concerned about zoological correctness. And Dresden’s 2 : 2 version misses the food competition. Ridinger’s Predators and Killed Deer in Berlin (Michaelis, 2002, 2272) shall be recalled: “A couple lions and tigers each fight about the killed splendid stag”. And the included lion hunt distinctly speaks against an assumption of a cozy Paradise scenery. In such a manner then

painterly lion ambience pure .

As at the same time Ridinger’s only contribution to the Dresden gallery work Recueil d’Estampes d’après les plus célèbres tableaux de la Galerie Royale de Dresde founded by C. H. von Heinecken, the second volume of which was published 1757. Like the first from 1753, this one, too, comprised 50 plates worked from drawings of Ch. F. Hutin and his brother Pierre. A third one was published under Frederick Augustus III (the Just; 1750-1827, elector since 1763/68, since 1806 first king of Saxony).

Very fine impression on sturdy laid paper before the plate and volume designations

at the lower edge of the text field. Apparently added only by and by and not mentioned by Thienemann either, their missing here probably indicates a genuine Ridinger impression before the edition proper. Just as then Schwarz notes for lower right the plate designation “No: 46.”, as with the copies of the Saxonian State Library, the British Museum and in the Wellcome Library, too. A copy traded here in 2000 in a remarkably excellent later impression on wove paper, documenting the small number of copies, additionally with the volume designation “T. II.” lower left as probably added only for reprints on occasion of the publication of the third volume. According to Woermann the plates were offered for sale on both ordinary and Chinese paper in the Royal Gallery still in 1887. – The smoothed centerfold perceivable on front only in the white text field left of the arms medallion. – Margins above and below 3.8-4, at the sides 1.9 cm wide.

Offer no. 16,187 / EUR  1300. / export price EUR  1235. (c. US$ 1499.) + shipping


„ Greetings from your Italian friend and Beethoven collector … Please inform me … “

(Sign. L. B., December 10, 2005)

 

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