“ The Deer’s Four Times of Day ”

as maybe the finest natural set of the old prints

localized here at the atmospherically staged

Starnberg on the Lake + Nymphenburg

in Bavaria close to Munich

with furthermore the master’s one and only own dedication .

A Quite Intimate Wall Decoration , Indeed !

Johann Elias Ridinger (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). The Deer’s Four Times of Day. Set of the four etchings with engraving. C. 1746. Inscribed: J. E. Ridinger Pictor ac Sculptor Augustan. (1) and J. E. Ridinger fec. (2-4) resp. + characterization of each scenery above the oval image the corners of which hatched out. 13¾-13⅞ × 11⅛-11⅜ in (34.8-35.1 × 28.4-28.9 cm).

Thienemann + Schwarz 238-241 (“splendid compositions”, Nagler).



Lucem revehit tenebris Aurora fugatis
In a rocky landscape a troop welcoming the new day

“ On a wall of rock a brocket is standing greeting the rising sun by neck put forward far up (see on this U. Heise on occasion of the Evening, too). Below by a water a 12-point stately one resting, looking, as a friend of the light, upwards likewise. Beside a further one restfully standing and two hinds. ”

For the brocket the drawing Weigel, 1869, no. 133 – “A Languishing Stag standing on a Rock Piece”, black chalk heightened with white, on blue paper – should have been used as copy, inscribed by Ridinger with “in silva Nymphenburg (near Munich), ad vivum delineavit J. E. Ridinger 1738”. – As a whole the composition should stand in connection with the oil given to Johann Elias in the 1978 exposition Jagd einst und jetzt of the Lower Austrian State Museum at Marchegg Castle (no. 129, 17½ × 14⅝ in [44.5 × 37 cm], for the pendant see the noon plate) described as “… shows a rocky landscape with stags and hinds”.

With the dedication – the one and only own within the about 1600 leaves of the graphic œuvre! – to the artistically all-round diplomat Christian Ludwig von Hagedorn (Hamburg 1712 – Dresden 1780), brother of the poet and since late 1763 chairman of the Dresden Academy, then, in 1764, chairman of all cultural institutions in Dresden, here in his position of Saxon Legation Councillor of Augustus III (Elector Frederick Augustus II of Saxony), King of Poland:


Potentiss. Poloniae Regis a Consiliis Legationum / Viro et avitae Nobilitatis Splendore / et artis graphicae usu, cultu, amore / inter graviora negotia Spectabili / D. D. D. ”

Having entered upon Electoral Saxon service in 1735, Hagedorn was promoted Legation Councilor in 1743/44 (Privy in 1763). There is no insight here yet about the occasion for Ridinger’s distinguishing unique dedication.



Sol mediam coeli terit arduus arcem
A troop of three by a strong tree in a forest

“ For midday rest a capital stag is standing (at a water), frontally to the beholder, in the shadow of a strong tree of a forest. Beside a lying stately ten-point one licking his back and a smaller further one, both resting. ”

The pendant to the oil in Marchegg mentioned above to the morning plate described in the catalog per no. 128 as following :

“ … represents a group of three stags assembled under a mighty tree. Two deer have lain down on the ground, the third one stands almost frontally against the onlooker. In the foreground a watercourse, in the background dense wood. ”



Ast(e)rifero procedit Vesper olympo
Father , mother and son under the starry sky

“ The main figure, a vigorous 12-point one (one of the two binding marks of the ridinger gallery), has a resting hind alongside of him and a brocket (perhaps the son) behind him. All three vivaciously for they are nocturnal animals. ”

With the omission of the standing second hind it is in reverse the majestic right foreground group from Th. 293

“ (Anno 1736. drawn from nature in the forest near Stahrenberg

[ near Munich ]) ”

transferred to copper – “J. El. Ridinger ad viv. del. et fec.” – in 1746/48, yet hardly before 1747. By a water supposed to be the bay of a lake this scenery shows aforesaid group of four on a boulder above the water and at the same time at the foot of a rock projecting into the subject, and on the other hand at the opposite forest edge another royal one with a seraglio of seven.

Evidently related, the Indian ink preparatory drawing “Herd of Deer on the Lakeside” of the Coppenrath Collection – sect. II (1889), no. 1918, “For Th. 293” – with the caption

“ (Drawn from nature near Starenberg on the Lake [near Munich]) ”

might withal prove identical with the one with the equal worded caption in Weigel, 1869, no. 130, and by this as related to Th. 241, see the following scenery.

Among the changes of details of an oil of the complete composition Th. 293 traded here the situation of the water below the right foreground group proves to be remarkable as, contrary to the copper, distinctly staging a flowing off (that of the Würm?).

“ A key image

of (Ridinger’s) … natural philosophical stance

is the Evening … represented are three deer which are lost in the sight of the evening starry sky, what has to be taken as evidence for R.s conviction that nature is a revelation of wisdom, almightiness and God’s grace … 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 motion ”

so very recently Ulla Heise in Allgemeines Künstler-Lexikon (2017), vol. 98, pp. 472 f. The active upbeat of this absorption are Brocket & royal of the Morning, see above. And in regard of the landscape the roots extend considerably backwards beyond the 18th century. For

“ according to the well-established perception in the 17th century nature was an expression of the divine creation: a fine landscape picture was an homage to God’s greatness and almightiness. Before this national and religious background the representation of the common Netherlandish landscape emerged … ”

(Stefaan Hautekeete [ed.] 2007 in the exhibition catalog Holland in Linien – Ndl. Meisterzeichnungen des Goldenen Zeitalters aus den Kgl.-Belg. Kunstmuseen Brüssel, p. 7/I).



Jam medio volvuntur Sidera lapsu
Rutting season at moonlight

“ It’s moonlight at rutting season. A 16-point rutting stag, belling pitifully, surrounded by seven pieces game, an imposing seraglio, which are about to go to water (and that clearly that of a large lake). At the bank beyond another stag crying. ”

This group of eight exactly the situation of the afore-mentioned drawing Weigel 130:

“ A landscape with a river (sic!), in front a stag and (7) hinds going downwards from the rock to the river. Inscribed: Drawn from nature at Starenberg on the Lake. With the painter’s name (this in Coppenrath above included per “Inscribed” as taken for granted), Indian ink and black chalk … ”

In respect of the number this group corresponds with that placed above the water at the edge of the forest of Th. 293 whose capital one only doesn’t show 16 points. – Thematically by the way surely also belonging also to the undescribed drawing Weigel 169 “A woodland with a stag and ten standing and lying resp. hinds; a rutting stag beyond a river doesn’t dare to come near. On bluish paper, Indian ink, heightened with white, oblong roy. f.”.

With all that discussed above “The Four Times of Day” by this linked up for the present three of their sceneries with their local context for the first time,

dominated by Starnberg , assisted by the near Nymphenburg

( both near Munich ).

And in each case from own local view. An earlier timing for the working of the Four Times of Day set on the late ’40s, early ’50s as could be deduced from this appears sooner improbably with regard to a conceivable time mark for the following Hippocrene, ensuring to 1757/58, as inevitably worked before the Four Times of Day.

The master’s then preference for the environments of Munich furthermore proven by inscriptions in drawings/coppers in Starnberg (Weigel 130/Th. 293; Collection of Ridinger drawings at Wawra, 1890, no. 56 [“Stags on a Hill moving towards the Forest, inscribed Ad Vivum in Silva Starenbergensis Joh. El. Ridinger 1738”, chalk on blue paper, heightened with white, large fol.] in 1736 + 1738 , in Nymphenburg in 1731 (Th. 287, “in the Parc of Nymphenburg towards Stahrenberg …”) + in 1738 (Weigel 133/Th. 238), possibly still in 1734 (Th. 274) and perhaps/presumably in Schleißheim in 1736 (Th. 270) + 1738 (Wawra 55, “Stags in the Forest near Schleissheim. With the name of the master and … 1738 …”, chalk on blue paper, heightened with white).

Beyond their general belonging to the finest of the beautiful in such a way

Ridinger’s “The Deer’s Four Times of Day”

turn out to be

as additionally embedded in a local area of highest degree .

And of an iconographical one, too. For

“ Stags at the water in mountainous landscape hinted on the famous psalm 42.1 ‚So like the deer thirsts for fresh water, so my soul strives after thee, Lord‘ and became to the cipher for the ‚anima christiana‘ ”

(Justus Müller-Hofstede on the occasion of the 1985 Cologne Savery exhibition).

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