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Johann Elias Ridinger, Hippocrene

Johann Elias Ridinger (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). The Hippocrene. The Horse’s or Muse’s Fountain at the Parnas or Helicon as column of water rising up like a dome. With fountain architectonics, here the overgrown arch of a grotto, dominated by the fountain’s and Muse’s horse Pegasus and populated by the nine Muses as the guardians of the spring as well as river gods as the equally mandatory attributes of the fountain. Etching + engraving. Before c. 1746. 13¾ × 11¼ in (34.9 × 28.7 cm).

Augsburg Art Collections, Exhibition Catalogue KUNSTREICH – Acquisitions 1990-2000, 2001, no. 101 with full-page + 4 detail ills.

One of six Roman numbered I/VI preferential prints in reddish black on heavy laid paper. Besides there are ten ordinary prints in black numbered Arabic 1/10 on the same as well as some épreuves d’éditeur from the uncleaned plate, also in additional colors and on further papers, all with the autograph signature of ridinger dealer lüder h. niemeyer together with the date of February 16th, 1998, as the master’s 300th birthday and comprehensive stamp to this edition on the back. Two prints remaining with the printer without signature and stamp. – Roman I and one of the épreuves belonging to the complete set of the original copper printing plates of the series of the Deer’s Four Times of Day created about 1746 (Th. 238-241), the Evening plate of which revealed on its back during cleaning work the Hippocrene as composition apparently dismissed by the master and here described for the very first time.

Thematically merely close, but not related to the group of the “Fountains” Thienemann (878-881) called “Mythological Pyramids”, it is an autonomous work.

Mythological background of the time of interest here is that when Pegasus “silenced the Helicon rising up to heaven in ecstasy about the Muses’ songs by a hoofbeat and by this at the same time kicked forth the enchanting Fountain of the Muses Hippocrene” (Meyers Konversations-Lexikon, 4th ed., XII, 804, Pegasos/Horse of the Spring).

Just to the sides of the horse the Muse of Painting not designated for her own with maulstick and palette along with brushes in her left, pressing a groundhigh slab to herself, and Thalia as later guardian of theater in general, here with the comic mask, but in her raised right. What intellectually leads to Hogarth’s later last self-portrait combining both as painter with palette + brush before the canvas, “on which he paints the personification of his artistic inspirations, the comic muse with the mask (Hogarth Catalog Zurich, 1983, p. 18 along with illustrations pp. 17 + 135, dating the oil on ca. 1757, followed by the copper-work published March 29, 1758).

On the same level outwards Aphrodite casting the horoscope and Clio as herald of history. After two bird-shaped gargoyles held by puttos – two reptile-like ones then far down at the bottom – the other five Muses, partly bathing their feet, follow. The two in front right may be Erato related especially to erotic poetry, here without attributes only standing and propping herself up, and Terpsichore responsible for dance & choir singing, but then with plectrum only. Of the two located on the left one with yardstick. In between on the water group of river gods.

Created by one of the greatest artists close to nature in fine nearness to Antoine Watteau’s drawings corresponding with each other, “Temple of Diana” & “The Arbor”, both about 1714 and engraved by Gabriel Huquier for the drawing part (1726) of the Recueil Jullienne. In which the different design of the sides of the “Temple of Diana” invited Huquier to work two etchings after this: the Temples of Diana and Neptune (Nagler, Huquier, 41 f.). As then water gardens are present also at the “Arbor”, whose two little water spillers Ridinger quotes in the said water spitting birds held by puttos.

Ridinger’s Hippocrene published here supposedly for the very first time in besides elitist tiny worldwide edition only. – To match the size of the three other plates of the set of “The Deer’s Four Times of Day” present back work might be shortened marginally a little in its composition. Besides printing was done with all the due consideration for the deer scenery on the other side, a handling which inevitably should have been regarded as dispensible in the reverse case, so that the Hippocrene etching was not perfectly virginal anymore. Nevertheless an attractive object on the wall, too.

Offer no. 13,279 / price on application

– – – – The same in one of the ten copies in black numbered in Arabic.

Offer no. 13,280 / price on application