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Johann Elias Ridinger, Daniel in the Den of Lions

Johann Elias Ridinger (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). Daniel in the Den of Lions. By example of Daniel, promoted in the Jew’s Babylonian Captivity and under the Persian Cyrus I calumniated by enviers and consigned to the den of lions, Jehovah, the god of the Israelites, shows his might, exciting the court on the gallery in unbelieving stupefaction. Brush drawing with wash in grey-blue + black with heightening in white for Johann Daniel Herz I (1693 Augsburg 1754; an “art publisher with an eye for quality” [Rolf Biedermann, 1987], “especially his sheets of large size shall be mentioned” [Thieme-Becker, 1923]). (1732.) Inscribed in bistre: Jo El. Riedinger (sic!) inv et del 1732. 33 × 21 in (837 × 533 mm) & 1¼ × ¾ in (32 × 20 mm) additional inscription field laterally lower right.

Provenance: Counts Faber-Castell, their Ridinger sale 1958 with its lot no. 2 in red on the underlay carton.

One  of  the  most  outstanding  Ridinger  drawings  as preparatory drawing in reverse, pictorially lined with wide and narrow border, to plate Schwarz 1440 worked by the engraver Johann Jacob Wangner (“Iun.”, c. 1703 Augsburg 1781; the contemporary Augsburg artists “also furnished him with drawings to be engraved”, Nagler) and known to literature only since 1910 by the copy of the von Gutmann Collection (identical with the one in the ALBERTINA?), in its reproduction, however, obviously remaining far behind the bloom of the drawing (its subject size with somewhat narrower conclusion above 31¼ × 21⅞ in [793 × 557 mm; sic! or mistake?] mm compared with a pure subject size here of 32¼-32⅜ × 20 in [820-822 × 507-509 mm]).

The ie spelling of the signature (at Faber-Castell erroneously read as 1737) in correspondence with the likewise imperial-sized drawing of the Roman Emperor on Horseback obviously remained unpublished of the Hamminger Collection (1895, cat. no. 1932, “Joan Eli Riedinger del. 1734”), but also with the engravings Th. 793-796 (1724/28; so also Th. 1381 engraved by Kleinschmidt in 1728) as well as 249 & 251 (c. 1738/40) bearing his own sculpsit. By which the hitherto also here common opinion that ie inscriptions in drawings were to be assigned generally to other hands proves irrelevant for at least up to the 1730s. This corresponding also with the recent reference by a Riedinger descendant that the name had been written variably in the course of time. Our former cataloging of present Daniel drawing that the inscription were just by the publisher is therefore unfounded.

Present work belongs to the largest-sized of the drawn œuvre

(“ You have given a huge pleasure to me with the photo … of Riedinger’s depiction of ‘Daniel in the Den of Lions’. The lions have actually lost all blood-thirst of predaceous animals and nestle against the imprisoned Daniel like peaceable cats making his stay in the den tolerably well. A wonderful picture! ” [Mrs. S. S., Switzerland])

and follows the bible’s tradition Book of Daniel, chap. 6, and is not provable here even as engraving in no other copy since Schwarz (1910). Engraved it was expressly missing thus with Counts Faber-Castell (1958), too.

Besides two horizontal smoothed folds which remained perceptible as abrasions at top below the gallery and centrally below the archway a plenty of tiny(est) abrasions especially in the marginal parts, then, and here impairing only up to a point, for 2.5-3 cm in height in the left part of the sheet above the centerfold. Of the predominantly only spotlike foxing on the back only isolated slightly larger ones shining through largely in the upper half of the subject, perceptible almost only in the washed free area between archway and gallery. Quite isolated small marginal tears reinforced. Generally the quite tolerable wrinkles of the centuries as due to the hard to preserve oversize and greatest rarity, concealed by the pictorial grandeur of the composition with its, not least, 10 different masterly lion physiognomies (that of the eleventh lion covered).

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