Francis  of  Assisi

as  Undescribed  Variant  of  Th. 1288

Ridinger, Johann Elias (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). S. Franciscus Seraphicus. Saint Francis of Assisi in three-quarter figure to the right, praying before opened book with inscription “DEUS MEUS ET OMNIA.”, death’s-head  + crucified seraph beside boulder overgrown with grass on top as attribute of the wilderness “as the effective ideal for saints doing penance” (Nicole Hartje). The right of the folded hands with stigma. Mezzotint by Johann Jacob Ridinger (1736 Augsburg 1784). Inscribed: Ioh. Iac. Ridinger sculps. / Ioh. El. Ridinger exc. Aug. Vind. / S. | FRANCISCUS | SERAPHICUS. (in the upper loop of the otherwise empty mussel-shaped cartouche in the broad lower edge). 21½ × 16¾ in (54.6 × 42.5 cm).


Counts Faber-Castell

their Ridinger sale 1958
with its lot no. 115
on the underlay carton

Radulf Count of Castell-Rüdenhausen


Compare Thienemann 1288 (only c. 20¾ × 15⅜ in [52.6 × 39.1 cm]; without the engraver’s signature of Johann Jacob and only “A. V.” instead of “Aug. Vind.”; not mentioned book inscription + rock staffage; cf. Schwarz 1543, however not identical with Schwarz 1288 just for the format) – Schwarz 1288 (? 24⅜ × 19½ in [61.8 × 49.5 cm]; without the book inscription, but with the boulder background; shortened signature as Th. 1288, its identity provisionally questioned by Schwarz) – Schwarz 1543 (22¼ × 16¼ in (56.4 × 41.2 cm]; with book inscription, but without the boulder, shortened signature as before, but “excud.” instead of only “exc.”).

Reich auf Biehla 250 ( “Extremely rare”, 1894 ! Without state detail + “Somewhat damaged.” ); Faber-Castell 115 (negligently as version Schwarz 1288). – As erroneously taking Thienemann + Schwarz 1288 for identical not in Wend, Ergänzungen zu den Œuvreverzeichnissen der Druckgrafik, I/1 (1975).

Not in Weigel, Art Stock Catalog, pts. I-XXVIII (1838/57), Silesian Ridinger collection at Boerner XXXIX (1894); collections Coppenrath (1889 f.) + Hamminger (1895), Helbing XXXIV (Arbeiten von J. E. und M. E. Ridinger, 1900) + Rosenthal, Ridinger list 126 (1940).

Undescribed  variant

Johann Elias Ridinger, Francis of Assisi

to  Th. 1288 , Schwarz 1288 + 1543

of  the  fine  large  sheet  of  the  founder  of  the  Franciscan  order

(1182-1226) in heavy penitential robe the cowl turned back with clear reference to his vision of a crucified seraph who “impressed (on him) under burning pain Jesus’ stigmata from which he got the name of the seraphic father , his order that of the seraphic brothers.” And

“ Despite the dislike of the founder of the order for art the Franciscan friars had a great influence on the development of Italian art, for they set the same comprehensive missions … The life and the miracles of Francis have been depicted in continuous cycles … One of them, the stigmatizing, i. e. the mystical transfer of the stigmata of Christ on Francis, remained motif of artistical representation up to the 18th century ”

(Meyers Konvers.-Lex., 4th ed., VI, 588).

“ Benedict XI

granted the Friars Minor a special feast of the

Stigmata  of  Saint  Francis

… and Paul V obliged all Catholic ministers to the celebration of this” (Meyers, as before). Already two years after his death St. Francis, likewise honored by Catholics, Protestants, and even non-Christians for “his unique simplicity and a pure grace of spirit” (Paul Sabatier, Life of St. Francis of Assisi), was canonized by Gregory IX, former Cardinal Ugolino and cardinal governor of the Franciscan order.

According to current knowledge Ridinger dedicated eight versions or variants resp. to the saint, five of which in close following to the 1288 sujet (besides those already discussed including the present one the reduced copy of Schwarz 1288 per Stillfried/Schwarz 1423, 13½ × 9⅜ in [34.4 × 23.7 cm]), two generally connected with the theme (1339, 13⅜ × 9 in [34.1 × 22.9 cm] + Schwarz 1544, 25¼ × 17⅞ in [64 × 45.3 cm]), and Schwarz 1542 as completely independent (19⅝ × 14¾ in [49.9 × 37.6 cm]).

But  solely  present  undescribed  variant

additionally  with  Johann  Jacob’s  signature  as  engraver .

Common to all by the way their virtually entire missing on the market. Of those known to literature only Th. 1339 occurred in the well-equipped mezzotint section of Rosenthal’s Ridinger offer from 1940 (no. 420) + 1958 at Faber-Castell (123). So already in 1856 Thienemann resumed with a

“ 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 … ”

(pages VIII & 270).

A situation also possible new editions could change little as according to the expert Sandrart (1675) the technically conditioned extremely fast wearing off mezzotint plate only permits 50-60 good impressions. Ridinger’s remarkable interest in Francis of Assisi doubtlessly not least stimulated by a “He preached to the animals”.

Present in very fine, highly nuanced impression. And the intellectual content of the physical message reflected by the chiaroscuro.

With WANGEN watermark along with secondary mark as standing for contemporary impressions. The surrounding margin unevenly trimmed between the short extreme of 1 mm and 15 mm with mostly 10-15 mm on three sides. Two longer and three short traces of tears, each only minute, professionally restored and therefore without noticeably impairing of the also with respect to preservation very fine general impression. Backed besides three tiny tears in the white margin.

Offer no. 14,860 / EUR  1730. / export price EUR  1644. (c. US$ 1987.) + shipping

„ Hallo Herr Niemeyer, die (originale Ridinger-)Druckplatte (im rotgoldenen Glanze ihres jahrhundertealten Kupfers) ist heute wohlbehalten weil gut verpackt bei mir eingetroffen. Ganz herzlichen Dank dafür. Der Kaufpreis wird morgen früh an Sie angewiesen. Mit den besten Grüßen … ”

(Herr J. L., 16. Juli 2018)


The  Cream  of  the  Day