“ Holding  a  Special  Rank  because  of  (the)  Theme ”

Snyders, Frans (1570 Antwerp 1657). Two young lions pursuing a roebuck. Chalk lithograph by Ferdinand Piloty (Homburg, Saar Palatinate, 1786 – Munich 1844) printed with yellowish and ocher-hued tone plates. (1816.) Inscribed: f. Snyders pinx: / f. Pilotj del. 15½ × 21½ in (39.3 × 54.7 cm).

Frans Snyders, Young Lions pursuing roebuck

Winkler, (The Early Period of German Lithography), 622/25, II (of IV and V resp.) + 954, 16. – Cf. Robels, Frans Snyders, Munich 1989, no. 259 with ills. as well as ASK 1.I ff., pp. 92 ff., p. 150, para. 1; Koslow, Frans Snyders, Antwerp 1995, pp. 287 (full-paged colour ills.) + 302; Sutton (ed.), The Age of Rubens, Boston 1993, no. 120 with colour ills. + Hantschmann, (Nymphenburg Porcelain), Munich 1996, pp. 314, no. 25 + 354, no. 70 and ills. p. 358.

Incunabulum  of  lithography . – The 2nd state shining thanks to its additional yellow before the removal of also the “del:” which is visible here like its “f.” – contrary to Snyders’ signature – in traces only within the as a whole feeble Piloty signature. – The 1st state in black only, the 3rd (our 13,367) with ochre printed over, the 4th just with subdued chamois tone plate with simultaneous removal of the framing line. Later Piloty & Loehle published an enlarged detail of the lions only under the title “The Young Lions”. – Watermark M(anufacture) de I. A. Huber.

Sheet 16 of the 200-sheet set “Bavarian Picture Gallery at Munich and Schleißheim” published since 1816 and reviewed in Baierisches National-Blatt of June 17, 1820, (col. 575 f.) as following :

“ If one convinces oneself from eyesight of these marvelous works of art, with which truth the originals are reproduced, which power and gentleness the lithographic prints allow, how tenderly and lovely the tones run into one another, what the great masters cannot work easily out of the copper plates … so it creates just admiration … ”

The long, last by Robels also in regard of the thematically special position, assumed original pendantship to the “Lioness striking a Wild Boar” in Munich, too, (Winkler 622/24; for the motif in expressionist new setting see Heckendorf’s painting here) is doubted by Sutton (p. 565) with reference to the 9 cm piecing on in the lower margin of this motif presumably made by later hand only to approximate the formats. Here reproduced in reverse the buck is placed on the left and leaping to the left though turning back to the lions. All three reared on their hind legs, the paws of the front lion, while he looks back to the right at the jealous rival looking out of the picture, reach into space, at best the right just grazes the buck. The spacious, “far seen” (Bernt) ambience with a distant mountain – here on the left – supposedly by Jan Wildens (1586-1653, see Robels 259 and additionally pp. 147 f.).

In the absence of signature Oldenbourg (1918) + Manneback (1949) meant the lions could be by Rubens himself. In 1983 the Munich inventory is the opinion that an unknown Rubens drawing only stood sponsor. Corresponding herewith Balis (1986) judges the homogeneous pair within the etched set “Variae Leonum Icones” by Abraham Blooteling (1640-1690) after Rubens as just copied after Snyders’ painting. Nevertheless the lion placed back were based upon the jumping lioness of Rubens’ “Lion Hunting” formerly in Bordeaux, while the attitude of the other were reminding of the dominating wolf of the New York oil “Wolf and Fox Hunting” worked by Rubens and his studio. Additionally he appears in Snyders’ “The Lion and the Mouse” of the same time in Chequers and as a variant in Madrid (Robels 210 + 212 with ills.).

Irrespective of the static leap posture artistically exciting composition to which in the view here just the brownish tone of the early years “difficult to reveal” for Winkler (p. 13. col. 2) imparts that pictorially quite extraordinary fascination, multiplied by the room-filling, marvelous landscape decoration.

Beside Senefelder, for Winkler only technically talented, for Nagler Piloty is beside Mannlich and Strixner one of those “most famous lithographers” of foremost own artistic eye, too. In the sheets of the Picture Gallery they

“ developed a technical perfection not achieved till then, and as experienced draughtsmen were able to give a true copy … Especially Piloty’s sheets were always praised in respect of intellectual and characteristic interpretation of the original. Even the foreign countries, and especially France talked with admiration about those early results, partly in extensive reviews … ”


“ Therefore  the  term  reproduction  has  to  be  thought  over  for  the  early  age  of  lithography …

Here by drawing the multiplication of a representation of contents is given that formerly was almost impossible … In a word, we have to change our views. These manually lithographed reproductions of other models in the early period of lithography are … in truth … interpreting prints …

These remarks may show how interesting the history of lithography is if one grasps it starting from the works, if one observes how this new and versatile technique enchants artists and amateurs, publishers and consumers … ”

(Winkler, at the same time deploring that especially the large and scenic sheets were and are “downright ‘used up’ as wall decoration”).

With 18 × 25¼ in (45.8 × 64 cm) almost corresponding to the sheet size of about 18½ × 25⅝ in (47 × 65 cm) Winkler reports for the set and by this with fine wide margins of 3-4.5 cm and also otherwise of quite excellent condition.

Offer no. 28,623 / EUR  940. / export price EUR  893. (c. US$ 1080.) + shipping

„ besten Dank für die Mail und Ihre Sendung … Das Werk und die Kauf-Abwicklung sind wirklich tadellos! Nochmals besten Dank … “

(Herr D. B., 9. Oktober 2006)