Purified Customs Officer

Ridinger, Johann Elias (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). S. Matthew. The evangelist in plate-filling figure in landscape scenery, turned to the right and pointing there, but looking to the left, the left resting on closed folio, below of which a genius suggestively – though “as a little anachronism”, so Thienemann – keeps ready pen + inkstand. Mezzotint. Inscribed: Ioh . Elias Ridinger sculps. et excud . Aug. Vind ., otherwise in German as above. 20⅛ × 14¾ in (51 × 37.3 cm).

Cf. Thienemann + Schwarz 1261; Rosenthal, Ridinger list 126 (1940), no. 415; Counts Faber-Castell (1958) 104.

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).

Johann Elias Ridinger, St. Matthew

The initial sheet of the completely extremely rare 4-sheet set of the evangelists of which already Faber-Castell had but 3 sheets, and Rosenthal + count Radulf only 2 sheets (his S. John available here).

The imposing sheet of fine chiaroscuro with WANGEN watermark and secondary mark as standing frequently for contemporary impressions. Owing to a second copy here – see above – their comparison proves a general plenty of differences in the details up to the arrangement of the saint. However, same size and unchanged caption speak for only one, but pictorially completely retouched plate. Of interest in this connection not least the signature line. For in both versions the space of the periods of the abbreviations after Ioh., excud. + Vind. – see above – is the same as not typical for Ridinger.

Less absolutely the question of the priority. For now here the one, now there the other is worked out more richly and carefully. Exemplarily that with the copy here the total composition is more left-orientated. At the same size of the saint the distance between the left platemark/subject margin and the heel of the right shoe measures 9.2 cm, but 9.7 cm with the Faber-Castell copy. Correspondingly the two cypresses right of the latter are completely moved to the edge, yet less elegant in their appearance, too. As also as well the vestment of the saint as the wrap of the genius are drawn far less differently. On the other hand foliage + bark of the trees left were predominantly dealt with greater attention there. But in the genius’s tray in its turn only one inkstand there compared with two here. However, the three quills in each case appear differently carefully within themselves. But finally also the formation of the clouds on the sheet here of quite another quality, yet even the laces of the sandals richer. So

the version here is to be qualified as the first state of necessity .

Without the possibility to compare the literature copies above without any reference to a state. As just the split between technical possibility, see below, and contemporary market for Ridinger mezzotints is unchanged good for surprises by chance. So e.g. per 1264a Schwarz mentions for the S. John sheet of this set an impression from the partly retouched plate distinguishably inter alia “by the more elliptic halo”. In such a way then

the market scarcity of the Ridinger time as the collector’s pleasure gain .

Margins laterally 2, above/below 3.7 cm wide. – Slightly crumpled and only quite conditionally time-marked, too, but only a little perceptible in the subject itself.

The rarity of the mezzotints after all as generally preprogrammed for according to expert Sandrart (1675) the technically conditioned extremely fast wearing off mezzotint plate permits 50-60 good impressions only.

Correspondingly already in 1856 Thienemann, pages VIII & 270 :

“ 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 … ”

Offer no. 28,901 | EUR 690. | export price EUR 656. (c. US$ 793.) + shipping

„ (D)ie Sendung (Hogarth / Marriage à-la-Mode) ist gestern wohlbehalten hier eingetroffen. Ist alles bestens, und ich danke Ihnen nochmals herzlich für die Beantwortung meiner Fragen und prompte Lieferung … Viele Grüße … “

(Herr C. K., 3. November 2013)


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