The Hermit Jerome “Schwarz 1549”


Counts Faber-Castell

unmasked as Doubtful Fellow

Ridinger, Johann Elias (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). Saint Jerome. The inspiration of the saint. Three-quarter figure as hermit to the right with bare chest at a table with two folios, the left holding a quill resting on the opened right one of which. Right beside the inkstand, left of the table crucifix leaning against large cardinal hat. The hat itself leaning against double bookshelf. On this folios, hour-glass , death’s-head + torture scourge of Christ’s. The saint himself looking towards the back upper left from where the trombone of the Last Judgement conveys inspiration to him. The lion looking sternly from below the table. The whole within a frame with floral corner pieces. Below concluding large mussel-shaped cartouche within broad inscription field for entries of individual kind which both have been left empty here as the norm for the preserved copies. Mezzotint. Inscribed: in the mussel-shaped cartouche set into the upper ledge of the frame S. HIERONYMUS. / right below between the frame’s ledge and inscription field Ioh. Elias Ridinger excud. Aug. Vind. 22¾ × 16⅝ in (57.8 × 42.3 cm).

Johann Elias Ridinger, St Jerome


Counts Faber-Castell

their Ridinger sale 1958
with its lot no. 177
on the underlay carton

Radulf Count of Castell-Rüdenhausen


Compare Schwarz 1549 (20⅛ × 15⅛ in [51.1 × 38.5 cm]; variant in writing: “Elias” abbreviated after “l”, otherwise see below); Faber-Castell 177 (negligently as Schwarz 1549); Wend, Ergänzungen zu den Œuvreverzeichnissen der Druckgrafik, I/1 (1975), 230 (as Schwarz).

Neither Schwarz 1549 nor even the sheet here in Thienemann (1856) , Stillfried (1876) , Weigel, Art Stock Catalog, pts. I-XXVIII (1838/57) , Silesian Ridinger Collection at Boerner XXXIX (1885) , collections Coppenrath (1889 f.) , Reich auf Biehla (1894) + Hamminger (1895) , Helbing XXXIV (Arbeiten von J. E. und M. E. Ridinger; 1900) + Rosenthal, Ridinger list 126 (1940).

Enlarged + reversed copy of Schwarz 1549 not known to literature

on toned laid paper with watermark fleur-de-lis, probably contemporary, but also rather later. Noticeable that the enlarged format orients by other sheets of saints by Ridinger as e.g. the cardinal Jerome worked in mezzotint by Johann Jacob after Alessandro Marchesini (Schwarz 1548), though without the latter being “framed” likewise, or that of St. Mark Stillfried 1404, at which a note of Castell’s on the back of the present sheet points because of a similar scenery, by the way also lion and death’s-head.

Marvelous deep-brown impression with margins of 1.5-2 cm running around of perfect preservation with partial minimal touch of tiny foxing spots, three little rust spots feebly showing through from the back, and four small to tiny holes backed by old at the upper margin of the subject, reverse lower left remains of mounting, as nothing to reckoned at all. – On the underlay carton besides Castell’s reference to Gutmann (Schwarz) still another inscription by a different hand. The sheet seems to have been acquired in the English trade.

Sujet from the core of ecclesiastical history

to whose most prominent doctors Jerome (Stridon/Sdrin, Croatia, about 340/42 – Bethlehem 420 [419?]) loaded with a youthful past reckons.

“ … he (is) not only the most scholarly, but also the most eloquent among the Western Doctors … (and) in his biographies of St. Paul, Hilary, Malchus (he has)

right actually invented the pious novel ”

(Meyers Konversations-Lexikon, 4th ed., VIII [1888], 524.).

In his early years “he stayed for some time at Treves in whose famous schools he continued his studies and got acquainted to monastic life. His episcopal chirotony is reported in the legends of the 15th century as dignity of Cardinal referred to here by the cardinal hat. Then he played

“ a special role in the Catholic reform politics after the Council of Trient (1545/63) and may have been a lifelong standard and example (for instance) for Köln as scholar, penitent, and first cardinal ”

(Ekkehard Mai in the Montreal/Cologneer Richelieu catalog, 2002, page 157).

In 386 he had taken his permanent residence in Bethlehem where he founded a monastery and nunneries.

„ Here H. gave the first example of a monkhood that makes the cultivation of sciences and literature its chief duty. He (translated, having command of seven languages, essential parts of the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into Latin [Vulgata],) wrote quite a number of commentaries on Old and New Testament, valuable publications of archeological content, legends of saints and monks … ”

(Meyers op. cit.).

So he became, in his ranking likely compared with Augustine, patron of scientific associations, of teachers, students + pupils, of the theological faculties + Bible societies, but

also against eye-diseases ,

furthermore of Dalmatia + Lyon. September 30 as his dying day is considered his memorial day by Christian religions, for the Orthodox it is June 15.

Interesting present consideration of all attributes of St. Jerome

as the oversized cardinal hat joins the hermit and the lion the death’s-head. Rather it is hermit or cardinal + lion or death’s-head as then also in Ridinger’s representation of the Marchesini painting above as cardinal and just with the lion whom Jerome once should have relieved of a thorn in the paw. The latter as well as also the legend he would have been cardinal as taken over into the legendaries of the XVth century, too, commented by newer literature as following:

“ The legend he had been cardinal and during a lecture before his pupils in Bethlehem a hobbling lion would have approached him came into being only in the 13th century. The ecclesiastical jurist Joannes Andreas from Bologna (about 1330-48) used this to propagate the function of a cardinal as well as the lion as firm attributes of the Hieronymus ”

(Dirk De Vos, Rogier van der Weyden, Munich 1999, p. 405).

For the lion-immortalizing Ridingers the lion attribute was a dainty addition anyway in their work of saints widely quite unjustly carped at.

Offer no. 14,865 | EUR 485. | export price EUR 461. (c. US$ 557.) + shipping

“ (after postal problems with the delivery) I have now received the package. thank you for your perseverance (to find the parcel again) in this matter. Warm Regards … ”

(Mr. L. T., October 31, 2012)


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