Ostrich contra Wolf/Fox

Ridinger, Johann Elias (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). How wonderful Nature shares the gifts. Ostrich on an elevated viewpoint of a sovereign landscape defending himself against three wolves (recte more likely jackals as equally positioned in the tales as the foxes of the Bible, Th., identified as foxes by Weigel, too, see below). Etching with engraving by Martin Elias Ridinger (1731 Augsburg 1780). Inscribed: XXVI. / Joh. El. Ridinger inv. et del. / Mart. El. Ridinger, sculps. A.V., otherwise in German as below. 11¾ × 9¾ in (30 × 24.8 cm).

Johann Elias Ridinger, Ostrich against Wolves/Foxes

Thienemann + Schwarz 369; Silesian Ridinger collection at Boerner XXXIX, 1879 (1885); Reich auf Biehla Collection 113 (1894); Helbing XXXIV (Arbeiten von J. E. und M. E. Ridinger), 885 (1900). – Cf. the pen-and-ink drawing in Weigel’s catalog of bequeathed drawings of 1869, Ridinger appendix, 396.

Arched top sheet XXVI of the 46-sheet set To the Special Events and Incidents at the Hunt (“The rarest set of Ridinger’s sporting line engravings”, Schwerdt 1928) etched exclusively by Martin Elias after predominantly his father’s designs and concluded in 1779.

At which not only after realization here Martin Elias’ impact on the Ridinger œuvre is much larger than that of an engaged co-worker as engraver only. Already at an age of thirty he just acted as a spiritus rector behind the scene ensuring that sets were completed or, as here, published posthumously.

And as Wolf Stubbe (Joh. El. Ridinger, 1966, pp. 16 f. + pl. 34), going in medias res, celebrates Th. 722, The Wild Bison and the Crocodile, from the Fights of Killing Animals as an artistic zenith of the late work in respect of its luminous efficiency, he pays tribute together, because judging by the plate, not the drawing, to Martin Elias as the etcher/engraver of that work. An aspect illustrating deeply the Ridinger teamwork. – With 6-lined caption:

“ How wonderful Nature shares the gifts;
To one she gives cunning, to the other fugitiveness:
The Wolf received the cunning; to refresh his thirst
By other animals’ blood – Yet agility
Is neither wanting an Ostrich. And many times he succeeds,
Even though he is big and heavy, to escape the enemies’ rage. ”

Wide-margined impression originating from the omnibus volume of the old estate of a nobleman with probably watermark FIAT as countermark of the Wangen paper mill as one of Ridinger’s preferred firm laid paper qualities

with the Roman number

(“If they are missing, so this indicates later impressions”, Th.). – In the white upper margin still both the two pinholes from the original stitching in numbers.

The set itself “arranged almost throughout so that always two by two harmonize with each other and form pendants, just as they have been sold in pairs, too” (Th.). Here thus with the casuar attacked by lynxes.

Offer no. 15,717 | EUR 690. | export price EUR 656. (c. US$ 793.) + shipping

– – – The pair XXVI/XXVII in evenly slightly silver-toned impressions. – See the complete description.

Offer no. 14,123 | EUR 1380. | export price EUR 1311. (c. US$ 1585.) + shipping

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(Mr. D. K., June 3, 2006)


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