“ What is not transformed by fantasy

remains poor copy ”

Rubens Happily Revived with Ridinger

Ridinger, Johann Elias (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). Vos estis Lux Mundi Matth. 5. V. 14. Group of four of a pope + cardinal each as well as two bishops, the one in front with crosier, in three-quarter figure standing closely together, listening to the cardinal’s exegesis of “Narrantes carmina scripturarum Eceti. 44. V. 5” as to be read from the book he holds. The open page also grasped by the pope. In framework with flower-entwined rounded top with mussel-shaped cartouche as centerpiece. Mezzotint after details of two paintings by Peter Paul Rubens (Siegen 1577 – Antwerp 1640). Inscribed: Rubens pinx. / Ioh. Elias Ridinger excud. Aug. Vind., otherwise as above. 21¾ in subject height × 18⅝ in plate width (55.4 × 47.4 cm).


Counts Faber-Castell

their Ridinger sale 1958
with its lot no. 116
on the underlay carton

Radulf Count of Castell-Rüdenhausen


Thienemann 1289 (without state marks); Counts Faber-Castell 116 (“Rare”, 1958); Rosenberg, Rubens, 2nd ed. (1906), 230 + 288 (erroneously paginated 228) with illustrations.

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) , Schwarz (1910) , Rosenthal, Ridinger list 126 (1940) .

Of greatest rarity

Johann Elias Ridinger, Vos estis Lux Mundi

here moreover in the first state of at least two

with its framing ornamentation as essential for the subject following Rosenberg 288 dropped later (copy Wolfenbüttel).

With regard to preservation with all marks of 250 years passing through the waves of time. So then with particularly vertical visible as well as horizontal fold, the latter passing through the flower garland in the upper termination of the subject barely perceptible though, and in such a manner mounted by old on buff velin. Two sides with little margin of 5-9 mm, on the right trimmed to platemark, and below below the inscriptions and the upper edge of the mussel-cartouche there with about 6-8 cm loss of the text plate intended for inscriptions of individual kind, though in the preserved copies usually unused and here then obviously regarded as dispensable for the picture. The principally very fine impression rubbed in tiny spots with small paper scrape off without loss of letters within the title-cartouche as well as a few hair-fine smoothed little pleats and small margin tears. All in all certainly close to be a ruin, but just as certain that in many cases ruins can be positive about very charming view. Just as in the present case

the pictorial charm of this sympathetic sujets

by which Ridinger after references to, i. a., Watteau, Roelant Savery, Jacob van Ruisdael once more shows his – here decidedly ingenious – proficiency to use influences which like princely and aristocratic dynasties just run through the arts, too, as already Goethe admitted for his own work.

Here then after Rubens .

But while Thienemann – “The idea taken from Rubens’ painting” – just thinks of one model there are at least two.

Most conspicuously inspired by the right half of his “The Baptism of Constantine” (Rosenberg 230), effected by a pope whom two bishops and a cardinal assist, of these the latter in the second file like one of the two bishops with Ridinger.

Thematically and compositionally even closer though the group of six “The Defenders of the Lord’s Supper” (Rosenberg 288) within which the cardinal on the right indeed stands isolated from the pope with both the two bishops on the left, but likewise reading in opened book. And Ridinger’s lining of his group of four in above rounded and draped frame with mussel centerpiece quite corresponding to Rubens’ composition who arranges his scenery as on a stage, limited emphatically on both sides by two pillars each, above within the head architecture rounded like a kind of curtain and draped variedly including fruit with large musselpiece as centerpiece. And although Ridinger duly concludes his sheets of saints below rather generally with varyingly wide textfield with musselpiece, so in the present case this – here trimmed off – conclusion comes very close to that with Rubens who emphasizes the stage character of his composition by brickwork interrupted to the front/below by decorative piece.

“ What is not transformed by fantasy – Otto Modersohn notes in his diary in 1897 – remains poor copy” (quoted after catalog exhibition Fischerhude, 1978, page 347).

Here then Ridinger’s fully autonomous composition set under the beautiful word from the Sermon of the Mount “You are the World’s Light”, in ideas taken from two works of Rubens. And by this of additional documenting value with – for both Ridinger and Rubens – together high-ranking rarity.

“ The mezzotints – Thienemann resumes –

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.

Offer no. 14,872 | EUR 670. | export price EUR 637. (c. US$ 770.) + shipping

„ haben Sie vielen Dank für Ihre schnelle Antwort … Mit Ihrer Auskunft haben Sie uns bereits sehr geholfen und der Inhalt bezüglich einer eventuellen Neuauflage (ridinger schriften 25) klingt sehr gut … “

(L-Stiftung, 19. September 2018)


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