24-Year-Old Ridinger
Pencelling Live at Close Quarters
the Start of the
Deer’s Rutting

Johann Elias Ridinger, Fighting Rutting Stags at Neuburg/Danube (detail)

in the Green Meadow at Neuburg (on the Danube)
“ From Nature … drawn Anno 1722. ”

— The Original Copper Printing Plate —

“ ‘pioneering creativity’ ”

“ R.’s impact history is eminent .

Already during his lifetime he is frequently copied .

Throughout Europe

his animal depictions serve (the Tiepolos visiting the master, then Goya, later Franz Marc etc. etc.) as models for oil paintings, murals … porcellain painting and groups … tile and glass painting.

A key image of his physico-theological or nature-philosophical stance is the Evening from the set of the Four Times of Day of the Deer … who are sunk in the sight of the evening starlit sky, what has to be regarded as proof for R.’s conviction that nature were a revelation of the Lord’s wisdom, almightiness and graciousness. Niemeyer (2015) attests R. ‘pioneering creativity’. Spickernagel (2016) examines R.’s works in the context of the physico-theology originating from Protestantism and R.’s pictorial means for the visualization of movement …

Among the abnormalities from the animal kingdom the Fox with Two Tails (1744) and the Two Hares grown together at the Head (1765) stand out, both engravings are still relevant for the scientific history of veterinary medicine …

(His) dramatically staged landscape settings
in the manner of the Netherlanders of the 17th century ”

U. Heise
in Allgemeines Künstler-Lexikon, vol. 98 (2017), pp. 472 f.

Deer Rutting in Bavaria 297 Years Ago

Johann Elias Ridinger, Fighting Rutting Stags (Neuburg/Danube)

Rare Ridinger Scene
on the Master’s 275 Years Old
Original Copper Printing Plate …

Johann Elias Ridinger (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). Fighting Rutting Stags from Life in the Green Meadow at Neuburg (on the Danube, Bavaria) drawn Anno 1722. Copper printing plate in reverse. (1743/4.) Inscribed: J. El. Ridinger sculps. et exc. A. V., otherwise in German as above. 13⅜ × 10⅛ in (34 × 25.8 cm).

… originating

from the so-called Thieme-Becker Block — “444 copper printing plates (in reverse) presently (1933) in private estate in Charlottenburg (Berlin)” — turned up again after the turnaround and here researched seamlessly back to the Ridinger estate, correcting all the losses supposed by Thienemann (1856) as, just i.a., the plates to the 101-sheet set of the

Most Wondrous Deer and other Peculiar Animals ,

whose new complete edition was published in Leipsic just about 1859, at what – and only here – its original numbering, partly changed for the Engelbrecht-Herzberg editions about 1824/25, was restored.

Shielded from tarnishing by fine application of varnish ,

the optically excellently preserved ,

worldwide unique plate

is generally still printable in the course of its use through the times, however, it is offered and sold as work of art and collector’s item, thus without prejudice to its eventual printing quality. And with the recommendation of timeless-elegant frameless hanging — fittings included — so that you shall experience the respective light reflections to the fullest.

In short,

an extremely gratifying ,

worldwide unique absolutum ,

whose conservational undemandingness it shares with no other one-dimensional artistic medium in all their quantitative plenty. Classic insensitive original Ridinger copper printing plates in such a manner are synonym for pure joy sui generis.

Absolutely free choice of place, of all places acceptable those of the finest light incidence so that they can play off their reflectivity to the fullest, no matter if from natural or artificial lighting. At which the recommendation here aims indeed.

a trouvaille of which others not even dream of

The both for hunting and optically quite exceptional, also excellently preserved and

worldwide unique original printing plate

to sheet 29 (etching with engraving, Thienemann & Schwarz 271; Veit, see below, ills. 3 & 6, the latter for Menzler’s tone lithograph; cf. also the copy in Moser per Lindner, ill. col. 515) of the set of the Representation of the Most Wondrous Deer and other Animals

in the reddish-golden brilliance

of its

275 years old copper.

And precious collector’s object of high degree, here researched far beyond Thieme-Becker (vol. XXVIII, 1933, p. 308) seamlessly directly to the master’s estate itself, therewith correcting Thienemann who 1856 had deemed the plates for the Most Wondrous Deer lost. For

“ Preserved original printing plates

from the 18th century

are a great rarity ”

(Stefan Morét in the Ridinger catalog Darmstadt, 1999, pp. 62 f. See also the copper printing plates there I.13, I.8 & I.11, color illustration 6 & b/w ills. pp. 63 f.).

And especially on Ridinger’s:

“ Of the high technical and qualitative standard of the works of Ridinger and his sons collaborating in the workshop especially as engravers the (only very partially) preserved printing plates bear witness still today. ”

To the same effect then already before Bernadette Schöller in Der Kölner Graphikmarkt zur Zeit Wenzel Hollars within Wenzel Hollar – Die Kölner Jahre, ed. by Werner Schäfke, Cologne 1992, p. 19:

“ The copper plates ,

which on the basis of both their material value and the hours of work invested therein

enjoyed a far higher esteem

than, for instance, a preparatory drawing handled only too often disrespectfully … ”

As then elsewhere, too: “The Nuremberg publisher Frauenholz was so taken with this work that he acquired the plate from Reinhart (1761-1847) for a considerable sum” (Teeuwisse III [2007], 29).

And quite specifically for instance Adrian Zingg, who during his Paris years (1759/66) ultimately was paid by the great Wille “up to a thousand pound for the plate” while “For the accuracy with which he executed his works … nevertheless could not cover his expenses”. So this towards Hagedorn as director general of the arts in Saxony for the purpose of putting through his requests for employment in Dresden:

“ The work was agreed upon when I started it, and all the time spent much more time than I had expected at the outset, and sacrificed of my own money, to finish the work to my liking ”

(Erwin Hensler in the explanatory notes to the 1923 facsimile edition of Zingg’s album, p. 4). Yet even this generous sum but a quarter of what was paid in London. For, so 1835 Nagler in the Künstler-Lexicon II, 98 f.:

“ (John Boydell’s, 1719-1804) print trade was immense, and frequently he paid enormous sums to one single artist, e.g. for one plate after Dominichino 4000 pound sterling … ”

Or Cornelis Koeman in Atlantes Neerlandici II (1969), pp. 138 & 345:

“ (One of the most dramatic events in the early history of commercial cartography in Amsterdam was the sale of Jodocus Hondius Jr.’s copper-plates to Willem Jansz. Blaeu in 1629, the year of his death. At least 34 plates, from which Jodocus II had printed single-sheet maps for his own benefit, passed into the hands of his great competitor. Immediately after that, his brother, Henricus, and Joannes Janssonius (the latter’s brother-in-law) ordered the engraving of identical plates. ”

The communicated process of this order documenting once more

the full intrinsic value of copper printing plates:

The placing to two engravers by notarial act codifying the completion of now 36 plates within 18 months, worked “accurately and finely, indeed, finer and better and not less in quality than the maps given to the engravers”. The principals bore the expense for the copper and its polishing, and paid for the engraving itself 100 guilders per plate with an advance of 500 guilders with regard to the remuneration of hands. Regarding the inclusion of independent temporary engravers as obviously usage the principals were not allowed to do independent business with such mentioned by name – seven in all, of whom two nevertheless were excepted – and any other further employees for the duration. In the case of premature death of one of the two contractors, apparently specialized in the engraving of type, it was up to the other, by lack of a good type engraver, to terminate the contract or continue alone. in the case of the premature death of the other merely the time for delivery had to be prolonged adequately.

As we realize these revealing details

the plates inevitably gain in additional intimacy

Telling of constraints and shortage of time if fellow players did an unexpected clever move which could become commercially threatening, whereby term of delivery and considered number of engravers illustrate abruptly the advantage of the competition. And just the plain labor value of such a plate – that is only one per month! with certainly hardly an only 48-hour workweek if today at all still rememberable, as then also Anke Fröhlich reminds of “the long work duration for one plate” in the 2012 catalog of the Dresden/Zurich Zingg exhibition (page 101) – , here exponentiated by a degree of accuracy of a map transfer with its, not at least and in particular, see above, infinite number of local designations! As said, truly dramatic.

And yet in the case here, mind you, nevertheless still regarding just reproduction plates! What artistic and therefore timeless factor only defining the value there

where the artist’s genius itself

draws the lines, guides the chisel, amplifies the intensity of etching there and reduces it here, and forces the own vision upon the copper!

Here & now then in such a way a Ridinger plate!


“ one of the most virtuoso German etchers and engravers
of the 18th century ”

“ He was the most important master of animal and hunt depictions and one of the most virtuoso … of the 18th century … His printed work is represented in the print room

Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum, Brunswick
photo: AxelHH 2007 (wikipedia)

of the Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum already quite well.

“ Now this stock – and by this at the same time the museum’s collection of printing plates comprising hitherto 150 items (that is in particular Daniel Chodowieckisœuvre) – enlarged by 104 copper plates by Ridinger. This copper treasure is handed over to the museum as permanent loan by Stiftung Niedersachsen …

“ The printing plates open fascinating insights

in Ridinger’s approach to the graphic techniques and illustrate the road from the drawing to the printed picture. They reveal how in the course of his career Ridinger combined the etching drawn easily into the etching ground with the needle and the engraving carved systematically into the plate with the chisel ever more masterly. The result are animal depictions of great naturalness and liveliness for which Ridinger was admired and collected far and wide …

“ The plate collection lets the artistic development

and Ridinger’s thematic versatility within the animal depiction emerge … ”

So Thomas Döring as head of the printroom of the Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum on occasion of the handing over of the plate collection. Beyond this the media-historic significance of the collection were just the fact that in the 18th century prints like these had been the only means to transport image information and the depiction of the animal motifs tells a lot about the mentality of a bygone epoch. So then also the significance of the engravings shall be researched further in interdisciplinary projects with the Academy of Fine Arts in Braunschweig. For

the significance of prints and printing plates

were for people living today “as enigmatic as an African cult mask”.

The director of the museum, Jochen Luckhardt, finally focused the aspect that

acquisitions always were great moments

for a museum. At which private collectors likely counter: and where do we come ?!

And in analogy to the above difficult large-sized map engraving in Amsterdam about 1630 Michael Bauer (Christoph Weigel, 1654-1725, Kupferstecher und Kunsthändler in Augsburg und Nürnberg, in Archiv für Geschichte des Buchwesens XXIII (1982), cols. 740/I & 742, II f.) draws up the following calculation for the South German strongholds Nuremberg & Augsburg of the later period for “simplest” engraving work:

“ On purchase and sale resp. or the splitting up of an art dealer’s shop … it was above all about (its) printing plates. They represented the

by far costliest part in the production process of an engraving

… From the invoice of an Augsburg engraver to the city council on delivered plates of simplest (bold type not in the original) engraving work the relation of the work of engraving and costs for printing can be broken down further. In July 1755 the engraver Leonhard Michael Steinberger charges for two plates executed in engraving five guilders each and for 150 (250?) impressions done from these … For one impression thus results a price of 0.24 kreutzer or, in other words, 250 impressions would cost one gulden (whereby guilders and Thaler can be set equal) … This example demonstrates that

the principal capital had to be invested into the production of the printing plate

whereas the printing itself caused only very little costs. The principal capital of an art dealer’s therefore consisted of the possession of up-to-date printable copper-plates. ”

And not unsurprisingly visibly impressed the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (January 21, 2006) cherry-picked in the case of an Ostade:

“ Rumbler brings along a unicum to the fair :

the original printing plate (5 × 3¾ in | 12.8 × 9.5 cm ! ,

parenthesis not in the original)

for Adriaen van Ostade’s etching

‘The Paterfamilas’ from 1648.

Except for three, Ostades copper plates – fifty all in all – were in a Dutch collection, from which they were sold at auction one by one in 1995 (49000 Euro [aforesaid fair plate alone!, yet still just a morsel keeping respectful distance to one of Rembrandt’s plates sold at international auction years afore]). ”

And colleague Rumbler himself per description of this cimely in the fair catalog:

“ Original copper plates

had at all times highest collecting interest … The relic-like character, the historical value and the high content of information on the artist’s working method predestine the possession of such a plate to the

crowning keystone

of a collection. ”

… which the blessed indeed know to secure .

Adequately it was stated here on occasion of the re-emergence of parts of the so-called Thieme-Becker Block of Ridinger’s printing plates “One of the most sensational discoveries in art history … Ridinger’s original printing (sic!!!) plates”.

That the present one the master has worked himself alone

should be mentioned expressly. Just as documented by the corresponding above inscription. – The original numbering “29”, removed for a differently compiled new edition about 1824/25, restored, however, only on occasion of a later 19th century new complete edition.

And on copper plates as painting ground and in general finally Keith Andrews, Adam Elsheimer, 2006, pp. 18/I, 2 & 57/I,3 resp.:

“ Partly they certainly were intended for the decoration of furniture, especially as veneer for cabinets ” (spacing not in the original). And, once more,

“ Besides copper plates could be applied right into furniture. .”

And to complement above, here merely cherry-picked facts with a comparison of valuations once & now, by means of the called Blaeu map plates, proves to be as interesting as revealing:

100 guilders (in the Northern Netherlands of the 17th/18th centuries 20 stuivers came to one guilder and 16 pennies to a stuiver) Hondius-Janssonius paid as said in 1630 in addition to the value of the raw materials and conditioning for the engraving of each single map-plate. In contrast in 1670 the publisher’s price for Joan Blaeu’s 12 and 11-volume resp. Atlas Maior from the 1660s comprising about 600 (sic!) maps – Le Grande Atlas as the most exciting atlas event of all times, published in a total edition of just under 1000 copies – in its outline-colored standard edition in decorated vellum was just 450 and 430 resp. guilders! Nonetheless inevitably meant only “for a small circle of customers … (for the) requirement of representation of rich merchants and shipowners”. For a regular day’s wage averaged in said timeframe 1 guilder on the flat country of the west, in the south & east only between ½ & 1 guilder. For specialists a little more, for farm hands somewhat less. And in the cities about the double.

For the early 1970s Traudl Seifert, then head of the map division of the Bavarian State Library, figured for the Atlas Maior in the standard edition a shop price of about 150 thousand German mark. On a 1984 auction sale an 11-volume copy irrespectively of 5 missing maps estimated at 250 thousand was paid for a total of 347,700 DM. A rise to 807.60% from the publishing on 300 years ago! Which on their part already date back one quarter of a century!

In analogy to this the 100 guilders of engraving costs per plate in 1630 would have been multiplied about just the 807.6fold to 80760 DM and 41292 € resp. per 1984, one DM set roughly on a par with a guilder, freely granting this to be so. Yet, indeed, but merely, requiring just skilled craft.

(Based on Koeman, as above; Traudl Seifert, Der Atlas major des Joan Blaeu, in Börsenblatt für den Dt. Buchhandel, Frankfort edition of February 25, 1975; and statistic sources.)

And so the most elitist


still is the best value for money .

In regard of the locality yet compare Veit, Joh. El. Ridinger und die Grünau bei Neuburg in Neuburger Kollektaneenblatt CXLV, 1997, pp. 131-143. Although according to this the local faithfulness is not to be taken as an absolute quantity – in the present case, however,

“ the represented structure of the wood

still (corresponds) with

the present-day cultivated pasture landscape .

Agricultural paddocks amidst an almost untouched alluvial deciduous wood with gnarled oaks are credible and also at present still replicable. Only the light hillyness should be attributed to the artistic freedom of the draughtsman ” — ,

the environs are indeed marginally particularly appealing as being

situated between Augsburg as the sphere of activity and Regensburg .

And the latter forms the significant milestone for the development of the master’s œuvre. For here he worked during three years, at least still/already in 1719, on invitation for the electoral Brandenburgian comital-envoy Wolf Baron (so ADB; Kilian/Th. = count) von Metternich, present at the Imperial Diet.

Thienemann sets the work into context with the motifs of the other two rutting sheets of the set described per positions 269 & 270 and likewise drawn “from nature” at Starnberg and Schleißheim near Munich in 1736 and expands on this in the lead to no. 269:

“ This and the two following plates (plus 282 as noted there, too) have different size and shape, also far smaller figures, hence they even seem not to belong to this collection (of the Most Wondrous Deer). With the 1825 new edition the numbers are polished and (together with 282) sold as a special little suite under the title ‘Rutting Stags’ … top arched with wide border. ”

This then the rich aspectual setting of the Neuburg Rutting Stags of the 24-years-old Ridinger, observed on the spot and drawn at a time when he not yet worked in copper — this only between 1724 & 1728, at first still for third parties, from 1728 then publishing himself — albeit without passing this drawing into other hands for publication as indeed others. Known for his long breath, he drew on it only 21/22 years later to add it to his 101-sheet mammoth set of the Most Wondrous Deer worked from 1735 on through decades. Also ask for the copper plate to the title sheet added after completion 1768 posthumously as a Memorial of the Sons for the Father in the second state with the changed text from 1824/25.

And what did private plate purchasers write generally?

“ You have surprised me ”

so a retired presiding judge purchasing two of these cimelies
of which he had impressions been done
(see Ridinger catalog Darmstadt, 1999, I.10 & I.12).

“ I would like to thank you ,
the plates are more beautiful than I had expected ,
I take both , no question ”

so an entrepreneur who in the meantime bought three further ones.

And in 2001 the Augsburg Art Collections presented the acquired 12-plate set for the Paradise suite within the exposition “KUNSTREICH” as the important acquisitions of the last decade (catalog KUNSTREICH no. 102, pp. 198-201).

Offer no. 14,998 / EUR  29800. / export price EUR  28310. (c. US$ 34224.) + shipping

Rutting Season Drama
Martin Elias Ridinger, Entangled Rutting Stags (Bergstrasse)
by the Bergstrasse near Old Heidelberg

Martin Elias Ridinger (1731 Augsburg 1780). These 2. Stags one of 14. the other of 12. points have been found the 18th Novembrs. 1756. by the Bergstrasse Hesse=Darmstadt territory in the Seeheim (Bickenbach) fir at the so-called Tobacco Field in the ditch, thus lying, firmly entangled with the antlers, and of which one was still alive, yet the other dead. In rich, deeply staggered landscape “where in the background a piece of the Bergstrasse landscape becomes visible” (Weitz). In the air six birds coming up. Copper printing plate in reverse after Georg Adam Eger (Murrhardt 1727 – 1808). (1763/65.). Inscribed: G. A. Eger ad viv. pinx. / Joh. El. Ridinger direxit et excud. Aug. Vind. / Martin El. Ridinger sc. A. V., otherwise in German as above. 14 × 10½ in (35.7 × 26.8 cm).

“ Look reader a deer duel

where both remain on the spot / When for jealousy they wrestled / And entangled with antlers / Their game usually belonging man / was shamefully consumed by the worms / Since they escaped Louis’ weapons / so they had to punish themselves. In the Bickenbach Firs at the Tobacco Field found dead in the year 1756. ”

The optically excellently preserved


as before to sheet 77 (etching with engraving, Thienemann & Schwarz 319; Ridinger Catalog Darmstadt, 1999, VI.8 & 8a with illustrations; Siebert-Weitz, Ridinger – Bilder zur Jagd in Hessen-Darmstadt, 1999, pp. 40 f. with ills.; the stags illustrated also in the Hunting Book of Landgrave Louis VIII of Hesse-Darmstadt, 1691-1768) of the Most Wondrous Deer

in its reddish golden brilliance .

Offer no. 15,003 / EUR  23000. / export price EUR  21850. (c. US$ 26414.) + shipping

Der hiesige Weihnachts-/Neujahrsgruß 2005 endete mit „In diesem Sinne recht schöne Weihnachtstage voll Harmonie und sammlungszugewandter Muße … “ , letzterer Wunsch in einer Grußerwiederung aufgegriffen wurde mit den Worten

„ das Gutwort des Jahres – sammlungszugewandte Muße – wunderbar, hab einigen LBA/Goethefreunden dieses Gutwort genannt. Sie haben in einer verwahrlosten Zeit ein ‚linguistisches Gespür’! “

(Herr R. K., 5. Januar 2006)