The Noble Game — from Old Noble Estate
Starnberg on the Lake & Nymphenburg
as local initiators found out here
for the atmospherically staged ,
probably most beautiful natural set of the old prints
Ridinger’s “The Deer’s Four Times of Day”
with moreover the master’s one and only own dedication
Ridinger, Johann Elias (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). The Deer’s Four Times of Day. Set of 4 sheet in etching & engraving. C. 1746. Inscribed: J. E. Ridinger Pictor ac Sculptor Augustan. (1) and J. E. Ridinger fec. (2-4) resp., otherwise as following, with the respective motto each above the oval picture the corners of which are hatched out. 13½-13⅝ × 10¾-11⅛ in (34.3-34.6 × 27.7-28.2 cm).
Thienemann + Schwarz 238-241; Art Stock Catalog Weigel XXVIII, Ridinger supplement (1857) 19 A; Nagler 26; Silesian Ridinger collection at Boerner XXXIX (1885), 1800 (only “Fine new impressions”); Ridinger collection Reich auf Biehla (1894) 26 (only “Newer impressions”, presumably those about 1850); George Hamminger Collection 1601 ( “Very rare set”, 1895 ); Helbing XXXIV (J. E. & M. E. Ridinger, 1900), 500 ff. with pl. IV in “fine later impression”; Schwerdt III, 138; cat. Halle 68, Plate Books of the XVIIth and XVIIIth Cent., 337 (“Wide-margined fine impressions”, 1928). – No copy in the Coppenrath Collection (1889/90) & Rosenthal’s listing 126 (Joh. El. Ridinger, 1940, 444 items).
THE NEVER REPEATED ATMOSPHERIC SUITE
whose preparatory drawings in chalk heightened with white on blue paper inscribed with the full name and dated Ao. 1746 M. Febr. figured per lot 58 in the catalog of the collection of drawings – with the priority on Ridinger – left by Carl Marshal von Bieberstein (Frankfort on the Main, Prestel, 1879) as
the probably most beautiful natural set of the old prints
in the marvelous , warm-toned rich in contrast copy of an old omnibus volume of a nobleman and by this
preserved best through the centuries
with watermark WANGEN as the quality particularly esteemed by the Ridingers. Margins above & below 5-6.8, laterally 1.9-3.2 cm wide, at the left the old stitching edge. The Evening sheet with pinhead-small abrasion in the rock part above the group of three, otherwise prime.
The scarceness of the set in particularly , yet not only , contemporary impressions reflected by Weigel 16545
( “old impressions now found rarely only ”, 1847! )
as by the fact that it was missing in notable Ridinger collections of the 19th century either entirely (Coppenrath) or was present in new impressions from/after 1850 only (above Silesian and that of Theodor Reich). But even Georg Hamminger, Ridinger market sweeper of his time, owned it in contrast to numerous other works by the master only once complete and beside a precious discharge print of the first sheet just two individual sheets trimmed to the subject. And in 1900 the Ridinger wholesaler Helbing, likewise known for his umpteen duplicates in all states, could complete his only copy by one later impression only.
And the missing of the set in the representative exhibitions to the 300th birthday accompanied by adequate catalogs, so the 18-month Polish touring exhibition of the National Museum in Kielcach/Kielce 1997/98 and the one in Darmstadt at the Hunting Seat Kranichstein 1999 finally puts the unchanged situation of our days into a characteristic light.
“ Lucem revehit tenebris Aurora fugatis ”
After darkness is chased off
Aurora leads back the light
“ On a wall of rock a brocket stands, which greets the rising sun by neck put forward far up (see on this U. Heise on occasion of the Evening, too). Below by a water a 12-point stately one rests, which, as a friend of the light, likewise looks upwards, beside yet a further one restfully standing and two deer. ”
For the brocket the drawing Weigel, 1869, no. 133 – “A Languishing Stag standing on a Boulder”, black chalk heightened with white, on blue paper – should have been used as copy, inscribed by Ridinger with “in silva Nymphenburg (Munich) , ad vivum delineavit J. E. Ridinger 1738”. – As a whole the composition should be related to the oil given to Johann Elias in the 1978 exposition Jagd einst und jetzt of the Lower Austrian State Museum at Marchegg Castle – no. 129, 17½ × 14⅝ in (44.5 × 37 cm), for the pendant see the noon plate – described as “… shows a rocky landscape with stags and deer”.
With the dedication – the one and only own within the about 1600 sheets of the graphic œuvre ! – to the artistically all-round diplomat Christian Ludwig von Hagedorn (Hamburg 1712 – Dresden 1780), brother of the poet and since late 1763 chairman of the Dresden Academy, then, 1764, director general of all cultural institutions in Dresden, here in his capacity as Saxon Legation Councilor of Augustus III (Elector Frederick Augustus II of Saxony), King of Poland:
“ CHRJSTJANO LVDOVJCO AB HAGEDORN
Potentiss. Poloniae Regis a Consiliis Legationum / Viro et avitae Nobilitatis Splendore / et artis graphicae usu, cultu, amore / inter graviora negotia Spectabili / D. D. D. ”
Having entered upon Electoral Saxon service in 1735, Hagedorn was promoted Legation Councilor in 1743/44 (Privy in 1763). There is no insight here yet about the occasion for Ridinger’s distinguishing unique dedication.
“ Sol mediam coeli terit arduus arcem ”
The advanced sun touches the center of the firmament
“ Before a sturdy forest tree a capital stag stands, turned to us, (at a water) and refreshes himself below the shade of the foliage, beside lies a stately ten-pointer licking his back, and a two-year-old stag, as the third one, rests likewise. ”
The pendant to the oil in Marchegg called in per morning sheet described there per no. 128 as follows :
“ … represents a group of three stags which have assembled below a mighty tree. Two deer have lain down on the ground, the third one stands almost frontally towards the beholder. In the foreground a watercourse, in the background thick wood. ”
“ Ast(e)rifero procedit Vesper olympo ”
At the star-spangled Olymp evening proceeds
“ The main figure, a vigorous 12-pointer (one of the two marks of the ridinger gallery niemeyer), has a resting hind beside of him and a brocket (perhaps the son) behind. All three vivacious and lively for they are nocturnal animals. ”
With the omission of the standing second hind it is in reverse the majestic right foreground group from Th. 293
“ (Anno 1736. drawn from nature in the forest near Stahrenberg [near Munich]) ”
transferred to copper – “J. El. Ridinger ad viv. del. et fec.” – in 1746/48, yet hardly before 1747. By a water supposed to be the bay of a lake this scenery shows aforesaid group of four on a boulder above the water and at the same time at the foot of a rock projecting into the subject, and on the other hand at the opposite forest edge another royal one with a seraglio of seven.
Evidently related, the Indian ink preparatory drawing “Herd of Deer on the Lakeside” of the Coppenrath Collection – sect. II (1889), no. 1918, “For Th. 293” – with the caption
“ (Drawn from nature near Starenberg on the Lake [near Munich]) ”
might withal prove identical with the one with the equal worded caption in Weigel, 1869, no. 130, and by this as related to Th. 241, see the following scenery.
Among the changes of details of an oil of the complete composition Th. 293 traded here the situation of the water below the right foreground group proves to be remarkable as, contrary to the copper, distinctly staging a flowing off (that of the Würm?).
“ A key image
of (Ridinger’s) … natural philosophical stance
is the Evening … represented are three deer which are lost in the sight of the evening starry sky, what has to be taken as evidence for R.s conviction that nature is a revelation of wisdom, almightiness and God’s grace … Spickernagel (2016) examines R.s works in the context of the physico-theology originating from Protestantism and R.s pictorial means for the visualization of motion ”
so very recently Ulla Heise in Allgemeines Künstler-Lexikon (2017), vol. 98, pp. 472 f. The active upbeat of this absorption are Brocket & royal of the Morning, see above. And in regard of the landscape the roots extend considerably backwards beyond the 18th century. For
“ according to the well-established perception in the 17th century nature was an expression of the divine creation: a fine landscape picture was an homage to God’s greatness and almightiness. Before this national and religious background the representation of the common Netherlandish landscape emerged … ”
(Stefaan Hautekeete [ed.] 2007 in the exhibition catalog Holland in Linien – Ndl. Meisterzeichnungen des Goldenen Zeitalters aus den Kgl.-Belg. Kunstmuseen Brüssel, p. 7/I).
“ Jam medio volvuntur Sidera lapsu ”
Already the stars move in the midst of their decline
“ It’s moonlight at rutting season. A pitifully belling rutting stag, of 16 points, is surrounded by seven pieces deer, an imposing seraglio, which are about to go to water (and clearly that of a large lake). On the opposite bank another stag cries. ”
This group of eight exactly the situation of the aforesaid drawing Weigel 130:
“ A landscape with a river (sic!), in front a stag and (7) hinds going downwards from the rock to the river. Inscribed: Drawn from nature at Starenberg on the Lake (near Munich). With the painter’s name (this in Coppenrath above included per “Inscribed” as taken for granted), Indian ink and black chalk … ”
In respect of the number this group corresponds with the one placed above the water at the edge of the forest of Th. 293 whose capital one just doesn’t show 16 points. – Thematically by the way certainly also belonging to the unmarked drawing Weigel 169 A woodland with a stag and ten standing and resting hinds; a rutting stag beyond a river doesn’t dare to come near. On bluish paper, Indian ink, heightened with white, oblong roy. f.”.
By the above “The Four Times of Day” have been linked up by for the moment three of their sceneries with a local context supposedly for the first time,
both near Munich ,
and each from personal local take.
The master’s then preference for the Munich environs besides proven as evidenced by inscriptions of drawings/engravings 1736 & 1738 for Starnberg (Weigel 130/Th. 293; collection of Ridinger drawings at Wawra, 1890, no. 56 [“Stag on a Hill moving towards the Wood, inscribed Ad Vivum in Silva Starenbergensis Joh. El. Ridinger 1738”, chalk on blue paper, heightened with white, large fol.] & possibly also Th. 269) , for Nymphenburg 1731 (Th. 287, “in the Park of Nymphenburg towards Stahrenberg …”) & 1738 (Weigel 133/Th. 238) , possibly 1734, too, (Th. 274) and possibly/presumably for Schleißheim 1735 (Th. 282) , 1736 (Th. 270) & 1738 (Wawra 55, “Stags in the Wood at Schleissheim. With the master’s name and … 1738 …”, chalk on blue paper, heightened with white).
Beyond their general belonging to the finest of the finest
Ridinger’s “ The Deer’s Four Times of Day ”
thus turn out to be
additionally embedded into a local sphere of highest pretension .
And besides of an iconographic one. For
“ Stags at the water in mountainous landscape alluded to the famous psalm 42.1 ‘As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God’ and became the cipher for the ‘anima christiana’ ”
(Justus Müller-Hofstede on occasion of the Savery exhibition Cologne 1985, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung Nov. 10, 1985).
Illustrated then here by the midnight sheet by one
“ … animal designer sui generis , whose – truly unique – manner
has not been accomplished not even similarly by any other artist again ”
(Wolf Stubbe, former director of the print room of Kunsthalle Hamburg, equally bound up with 18th and 20th century, in Johann Elias Ridinger, Hamburg/Berlin 1966, pages 10 & 13).
And the set as a whole represents Ernst Welisch’s statement from a hundred years ago, according to which
Ridinger was indisputably
“ the most important Augsburg landscapist of this time ”.
And this “even although he is primarily known as animal painter”. No different Stubbe, who investigates in detail the development of his landscape by the sets of the early Princes’ Hunting Pleasure (1729) and the about twenty years later Par force Hunt and in this connection calls the attention to the mature art of engraving achieved by him. And this as result of the 18th century’s strive then realized excellently by him, too, “to join in print the two, basically diametrically opposed principles (engraving and etching). With the result
“ why his sets of prints prove to be decidedly ‘wall-efficient’ and – in frames hanged side by side – join to an
ensemble of homogeneous , decorative value
perceived immediately as unity”. A making aware which for instance also Karl Sälzle followed, who reports in the 1979 catalog of the German Hunt Museum how the master’s landscape design became the basis of the dioramas there.
Being able to suggest his present, never repeated set for bold grab once more after only recent passing through of a copy should not let its rarity confirmed of old fall into oblivion. Its coming in was just as unforeseen as its present quality impresses.
Offer no. 15,701 / price on application
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(Herr A. O., 19. November/19. December 2015)