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Johann Elias Ridinger, St. Matthew

Johann Elias Ridinger (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). S. Matthew. The evangelist in plate-filling figure in landscape scenery, turned to the right and pointing there, but looking to the left, the left resting on closed folio, below of which a genius suggestively – though “as a little anachronism”, so Thienemann – keeps ready pen + inkstand. Mezzotint. Inscribed: Ioh . Elias Ridinger sculps. et excud . Aug. Vind ., otherwise in German as above. 20⅛ × 14¾ in (51 × 37.3 cm).

Cf. Thienemann + Schwarz 1261; Rosenthal, Ridinger list 126 (1940), no. 415; Faber-Castell (1958) 104.

Not in Weigel, Art Stock Catalog I-XXVIII (1838/57) , Silesian Ridinger collection at Boerner XXXIX (1885) , Coppenrath Collection (1889 f.) , Reich auf Biehla (1894) , Gg. Hamminger (1895) , Helbing XXXIV (Arbeiten von J. E. und M. E. Ridinger; 1900).

The initial sheet of the completely extremely rare 4-sheet set of the evangelists of which already Faber-Castell had but 3 sheets, and Rosenthal + count Radulf only 2 sheets (his S. John available here).

The imposing sheet of fine chiaroscuro with WANGEN watermark and secondary mark as standing frequently for contemporary impressions. The comparison with the Faber-Castell copy likewise present here reveals a general plenty of differences in the details up to the arrangement of the saint. However, uniform size and unchanged caption suggest only one, yet pictorially completely retouched plate. After qualified consideration

present version is to be rated as the first state .

By the way Schwarz establishes per 1264a a state of the S. John sheet of this set from a partially retouched plate distinguished inter alia “by the more elliptic halo”. In such a way then

the market scarcity of the Ridinger time as the collector’s pleasure gain .

Margins laterally 2, above/below 3.7 cm wide. – Slightly crumpled and only quite conditionally time-marked, too, but only a little perceptible in the subject itself.

The rarity of the mezzotints after all as generally preprogrammed for according to expert Sandrart (1675) the technically conditioned extremely fast wearing off mezzotint plate permits 50-60 good impressions only.

Correspondingly already in 1856 Thienemann, pages VIII & 270 :

“ The mezzotints are almost not available in the trade anymore

… all worked by and after Joh. El. Ridinger (are) that rare that they are to be found almost only in some public, grand print rooms. I have come across most of the described ones only in the famous print room at Dresden … ”

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