Johann Elias Ridinger, Kranichstein Stag of 3 Antlers

“ Set above a Wall 12 Shoe High and Escaped ”

Martin Elias Ridinger (1731 Augsburg 1780). This Stag of 3 Antlers was hunted par force by His Princely Highness the Ruling Landgrave LOUIS VIII of Hesse-Darmstadt in the Great Pheasantry near Cranichstein Aug. 11, 1753, where the same set above a wall 12 shoe high and escaped, but was shot after the rutting season of the very same year (“thus about October 1753”, Weitz) at the border in high comital Erbach Schönberg territory (“south of Darmstadt”, W.). Copper printing plate in reverse after Georg Adam Eger (1727 Murrhardt 1808). (1767/68.) Inscribed: G. A. Eger delineav. et pinxit. / M. El. Ridinger sculps. Aug. Vindel., otherwise in German as above. 14⅝ × 9¾ in (37 × 24.9 cm).


Wolfgang Weitz

Bilder zur Jagd in Hessen-Darmstadt
1999, pp. 44 f.
with full-page illustration of the print.

“ Particularities:

copper printing plate (that is present one) preserved …

Painting , preparatory drawing (each of the head only) ,
trophy (at Kranichstein) existing.
There is a verre églomisé picture. ”

With not just exact local architecture as generally only here and there with Ridinger, but rather before the scenery of hunting seat


in one of the first of its views

of at the same time bearing for the history of construction:

“ The construction of the castle in – here well visible – three wings is an early,

if not even the first example of this style ,

which later has been taken over at other castles, too ”

(Lohmann, Georg I. und die Anfänge von Jagdschloß Kranichstein, no year, p. 70, after Dehio, Handbuch der dt. Kunstdenkmäler, vol. Hesse, 1982, p. 518).

The optically practically excellently preserved, worldwide unique

original printing plate

to the famous stag of three antlers as sheet 97 (etching with engraving, Thienemann 339; Ridinger catalog Darmstadt, 1999, VI.10 with illustration on the frontcover & page 126) of the Most Wondrous Deer

in the reddish-golden brilliance of its 251 years old copper .

And besides precious, worldwide unique collector’s object of degree, as part of the printing plates of the Most Wondrous by Thienemann 1856 still deemed lost, and here traced back far beyond Thieme-Becker (vol. XXVIII, 1933, p. 308) seamlessly directly to the Ridinger estate. For

“ Preserved original printing plates
from the 18th century
are a great rarity ”

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

In the same sense 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 by virtue of both their raw material value and the hours of work invested therein

enjoyed a far greater esteem

than for instance a drawing handled all too frequently disrespectfully … ”

Analogously then here on occasion of the re-appearance 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 present one

At which not only after realization here the impact of the eldest, Martin Elias, as the etcher/engraver of the plate here being up on the Ridinger œuvre is much larger than that of an engaged co-worker only. Already at an age of thirty he just acted as a spiritus rector behind the scene ensuring that sets were completed as just also the monumental 101-sheet one of the Wondrous Deer to which the plate here belongs, too. Of the last 27 works Martin Elias conveyed to the printing-plates alone 21! Without him the plate offered to you here would not exist!

And as Wolf Stubbe (Joh. El. Ridinger, Hamburg/Berlin 1966, pp. 16 f. & pl. 34), going in medias res, celebrates Th. 722, The Wild Buffalo and the Crocodile, from the Fights of Killing Animals as an artistic zenith of the late work in respect of its luminous efficiency, he pays tribute together, because judging by the plate, not the drawing, to Martin Elias as the etcher/engraver of that work. An aspect illustrating deeply the Ridinger teamwork. – The original numbering “97” restored again on occasion of a later 19th century edition after it had been changed for a separate set in the mid-twenties.

Already depicted in the hunting diary of Louis VIII the stag of 10 points (2 x 3, 1 x 4) poses

in front of the Kranichstein pool and the complex of the palace .

In regard of the latter one of its first depictions though. For

“ Views of the hunting palace are handed down since the middle of the 18th century only, all from the time of landgrave Louis VIII who as passionate hunter kept court almost exclusively in Kranichstein, as his father Ernest Louis also did after … 1715. Kranichstein’s heyday falls under the regency of these princes ”

(Gisela Siebert, Kranichstein, 1969, page 14).

Nevertheless going considerably beyond this general documentary value as, so Weitz, still

“ with all the buildings of its immediate environs

which had been cleared by the end of the (19th) century at the latest ”

And taken from no lesser, though not preserved in Kranichstein (see, however, besides the trophy there, VI.10c of the Catalogue Darmstadt with illustration, Eger’s large portrait painting of the stag, VI.10a, and the drawn study of the head ascribed to Eger, VI.10b with ills.), design than that by of the court hunting painter who joined the court in 1748, and in whom the close connection to the Ridingers obviously originated, and due to the age preferably lasted with Martin Elias. Because 6 of the 12 plates of the Wondrous dedicated to Hesse-Darmstadt (10 of these to Louis VIII personally) plus Th. 356 & 385 as also referring to Louis and later taken over from the Incidents have been worked by Martin Elias, four of these after Eger. Beyond these after the latter the equestrian portrait of Louis from the Princely Persons and two further designs.

Just as Eger was

“the true painter of the par force hunt at Kranichstein …

Louis VIII must have esteemed (him) quite a lot, wished to have him as constant companion on the hunt and commissioned him with a court hunting uniform to put him on par with the hunters, also called him intimately ‘his old mate’ (and bestowed him with the title of a second court painter after the death of Joh. Chr. Fiedler in 1765) ”

(Siebert, op. cit., pages 63 & 109).

“Hunting landgrave” Louis VIII himself together with Hesse-Darmstadt generally not just form the by far largest individual block within the Wondrous, but in the whole graphic work at all. And in this context the plate here with its Kranichstein architecture is

the most dominant plate of the Hesse-Darmstadt block .

Shielded from tarnishing by fine application of varnish, the plate is generally printable in the ordinary course of its use through the times. However, it is offered and sold as a work of art and a collector’s item, thus without prejudice to its eventual printing quality. – Shortly,

a thematically quite unique , optically magnificent , worldwide unique absolutum.

Proposed to you with the recommendation of a timeless-elegantly frameless – fittings included – hanging for that you will experience the reflection of the respective light to the fullest.

Offer no. 14,997 / price on application