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Johann Elias Ridinger, The Rule of Death

Johann Elias Ridinger (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). OMNIA MIHI SUBDITA. The Rule of Death. Tomb with death from whose head with an hour-glass adorned with bat wings on top a veil flows down on the back and laterally, enthroned above all the stuff of this world – represented outer right by a hemisphere – as there are gold, goods, seals + orders, crowns, scepter, orb + weapons, folios + cassock, scientific + agricultural instruments and nolens volens maulstick + palette with brushes. The right, however, holds a high tombstone, pointing with an arrow marked as “Presens” in the left at the inscription’s said final words OMNIA MIHI SUBDITA. Mezzotint by Johann Jacob Ridinger (1736 Augsburg 1784). Inscribed: Ioh. Iacob Ridinger sculps. / Ioh. El. Ridinger delin. et excud. Aug. Vind., otherwise as above and below. 22½ × 16¼ in (57.3 × 41.4 cm).

Provenance: Counts Faber-Castell, their Ridinger sale 1958 with its lot no. 146/2 on the underlay carton; Radulf Count of Castell-Rüdenhausen (1922-2004).

Schwarz (Gutmann Collection, 1910) 1477; Reich auf Biehla 296 ( “Extremely rare”, 1894 ! Without reference to state/version); Wend, Ergänzungen zu den Œuvreverzeichnissen der Druckgrafik, I/1 (1975), 270 with the knowledge of Schwarz; Faber-Castell 146 (together with Stillfried/Schwarz 1427 in state II as 14,857 here). – Cf. Niemeyer, (The Vanitas Symbolism with Johann Elias Ridinger) in Wunderlich (ed.), L’Art Macabre 2, 2001, illustration p. 105 (2nd state of St./Schw. 1427 in the copy of the National Print Room Munich).

Not in Thienemann (1856), Weigel, Art Stock Catalog, pts. I-XXVIII (1838/57), Silesian Ridinger collection at Boerner XXXIX (1885), Coppenrath Collection (1889 f.), Georg Hamminger Collection (1895), Helbing XXXIV (Arbeiten von J. E. und M. E. Ridinger, 1554 items; 1900), Schwerdt (1928/35), Rosenthal, Ridinger list 126 (1940).

The  second  version  of  this  incredibly  fascinating  sheet , not  known  to  Stillfried  (1876)  and  also  not  recognized  as  such  by  Schwarz  identified here for the first time as repetition with among others a decisive re-attachment of weight of Stillfried/Schwarz 1427 for which likewise for the first time a 2nd state with same pedigree could be proven and described here. Schwarz’ presumption that the differences of present variant 1477 are merely due to the reworking of plate 1427 is incorrect. As proven below it is a work from its own plate whose thematic spotlight elucidates by a minor shifting a more specified message: the “Presens” arrow directed at the sheet’s title no longer points between the words OMNIA + MIHI, but directly at the M of MIHI!

A  copy  of  outmost  beauty  and  graphical  refinement  in an adequate impression with surrounding margins 4-13 mm wide with supposedly watermark WANGEN together with separate IV as standing for contemporary impressions. – Of two utterly smoothed out folds running at each other in the center one backed outer left with slight pleat. Two weak parallel traces of folding, all barely perceptible from the front, moreover at the upper edge of the subject, one of which still traversing the termination of the arch. In this also an uninked hair-line crack running out from a tiny pleat coming from the top originating from printing. A few pin-head/tip-small abrasions. The slight touch of foxing spots on the back below not showing through into the subject.

In such a manner then  a  trouvaille  of  round  about  extreme  rarity , presented in a really early impression of incomparably beautiful plasticity. In an absolute velvety brown and black from which all bodily white shines in brown-white.

Offer no. 14,858 / price on application