The Four Seasons
Ridinger, Johann Elias (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). The Four Seasons. Large three-quarter figures sitting before landscape accessories (1-3) and at home resp. Set of 4 sheet. Mezzotints. Inscribed: Ioh. Elias Ridinger excud(it). A. V., otherwise as following. 21¼-21¾ × 16¾-17⅛ in (53.9-55.1 × 42.6-43.5 cm).
Not in Weigel, Art Stock Catalog, division I-XXVIII (1838/57; more than 1000 R. sheets of the etched/engraved work) , Coppenrath Collection (1889/90) , R. collection at Wawra (1890; besides 234 drawings 600 prints) , 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).
Slightly reduced and somewhat reservedly composed repetition of the third (of five) set of the Four Seasons Th. 1181/84 – “The ideas taken from the works of (Hyacinthe) Rigaud (1659-1743) and other French portrait painters” (Th.), though as to the contents generally in the succession of antiquity and Middle Ages according to which the perception of nature by the elements + seasons had “an important part in the process of profanation of art in the 16th century” (Robels, Frans Snyders, 1989, p. 25) – under renunciation of the verses, too. The missing of the latter might have led to the confusion with “Th. 1181-1184 before the verses … Extremely [and] Very rare [resp.]”. So 1885 with the Silesian R. coll. at Boerner XXXIX, 1985 , Georg Hamminger Coll. 1849/52 (1895) & R. catalog Helbing XXXIV, 1501/04 (“Splendid mezzotints. Extremely rare.”;1900) .
Present Th. 1193/96 hence in the wide lower margin set off of the subject by roll border sovereignly with just the titles in Latin-German in large typography.
Ver . / Spring .
Young woman to the left at a balustrade, looking at the beholder. In her right a rose, the left in a flower basket on her lap.
Aestas . / Summer .
Young lady to the right with straw hat adorned with ears and cornflowers, with the right pointing to a grain-field imaginary in this version, while the left rests on brickwork.
Avtvmnvs . / Autumn .
Full-figured lady to the right, holding her head down contemplatively-melancholically. In her right vine-knife while her left – resting on brickwork with vine with grapes behind – holds a tendril with grapes.
Hyems . / Winter .
Gentleman in coat lined with furs + fur cap sitting in the armchair to the right at the fireplace though nevertheless in quite fine shape and by no means in the sense of Th.’s 1184 (“An Old Man”) and the verse there (“By warm water the old will heat himself”; thus analogously to the “Old Man” on Watteau’s “Coquettes” in Petersburg of which Pierre Rosenberg writes in the exhibition catalogue of 1984/85 “… despite his stick he cannot convince us of his advanced age”). Holding a cup in both of his hands he looks laterally out of the picture. On the table teapot and dishes with biscuits and sugar resp. (Th.).
Mounted by old at the corners on buff laid paper which is slightly browned at two/three outer margins. – The winter sheet with tiny margin at three sides, otherwise partially with such one or trimmed to platemark.
The excellent copy in regard to printing and conservation
of a cultivated collection of perfectly bright chiaroscuro in all parts. And in such a manner of quite extraordinary rarity not only on the market as quoted above, but in general, too. Already in 1675 the expert von Sandrart numbered “clean prints” of the velvety mezzotint manner at only c. “50 or 60” (!). “Soon after (the picture) grinds off for it not goes deeply into the copper.” Correspondingly Thienemann in 1856 :
“ The mezzotints are almost not to be acquired on the market anymore …
and the by far largest part (of them)
… (I have) only found (in the printroom) at Dresden. ”
Besides Thienemann’s presumed copy in Dresden and the one of von Gutmann (Schwarz, 1910) present set is proveable with certainty with one copy each with Rosenthal (1940) and Counts Faber-Castell (1958). The previous version 1181/84 was missing with both the latter, yet – possibly – Helbing and the above two others had it. – Thus here & now
the trouvaillesque opportunity
to take possession of this splendid , wall-flattering set .
Offer no. 28,413 / price on application
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(Mr. R. H. P., July 25, 2005)