The  Ibex

Imperial  Synonym  for  Outstanding  Power

since  the  Age  of  Augustus

Johann Elias Ridinger (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). The Ibex is startled by a Lynx’s Cunning … / The Bad Cunning Lynx receives its Deserts … Pendants. Etchings with engraving by Martin Elias Ridinger (1731 Augsburg 1780). Inscribed: Ridinger sculps., otherwise in German as before and below. 13½-14 × 9⅞ in (34.3-35.5 × 25.2 cm).

Pair XX/XXI (Thienemann + Schwarz 363/64) of the 46-sheet set To the Special Events and Incidents at the Hunt as, so in 1928 Schwerdt III, 140, “the rarest set of Ridinger’s sporting line engravings” mainly worked after his father’s designs from 1752/53 (so Schwarz on basis of the dates of the drawings for the set) mostly by twos and concluded posthumously in 1779. At its dissolution in 1958 the comprehensive Ridinger collection of the counts of Faber-Castell contained just three sheet of this set, while in Coppenrath’s inventory 13 were missing (catalogue 1889, 1546 + 1890, 1956), in 1900 three at Helbing’s (cat. XXXIV, Ridinger, 1554 nos.) and one each Schwerdt and Baron Gutmann’s second (?) copy within the Pompadour volumes of the Marjoribanks Folios traded here.

At which not only after realization here the impact of the eldest, Martin Elias, as the etcher/engraver of the plates here being up on the Ridinger œuvre is much larger than that of an engaged co-worker only. Already at an age of thirty he just acted as a spiritus rector behind the scene ensuring that sets were completed as just also the monumental 101-sheet one of the Wondrous Stags to which the plate here belongs, too. Of the last 27 works Martin Elias conveyed to the printing-plates alone 21! Without him the plate offered to you here would not exist!

And as Wolf Stubbe (Joh. El. Ridinger, Hamburg/Berlin 1966, pp. 16 f. + pl. 34), going in medias res, celebrates Th. 722, The Wild Buffalo 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. – Each with 4-line caption in German :

“ The ibex is startled by a lynx’s cunning, By which it pursued it here secretly; Alone the quickness that is quite inherent to it, frees and rescues it from threatening menace.

“ The bad cunning lynx receives its deserts for its outrage; it feels pain and death, The ibex has its revenge at its enemy with disdain; Its rage is settled and that moans in agony. ”

Marvelous here first of all

the  thrilling  salto  mortale  flight  of  the  ibex ,

instructive  then  its  getting  even  with  the  foe :

“at a rock (it presses) with its strong horns the lynx’s neck asunder.”

With this only seemingly natural outer state of affairs the matter would rest with anyone. Not so with Ridinger whom in 1966 Wolf Stubbe called a mediating didacticer, “the man of  intention , the planner and designer, the creator out of artistic intelligence”, who then also not purely by accident is the originator of a 20-sheet fable set, rather wished to have understood this “the more so as for the instruction of the youth”. And so the ibex-lynx happening contains in the core the quite clear message, not to give up chicking out, on the contrary

being  alive  to  the  own  power

and  thus  deciding  the  challenge  for  oneself .

What then finally counts for the measurement of strength on the hunt, too. For the hunt “on  such  noble , desired  game  may  for  sure  be  a  great  delight  indeed , but only for the hunter, however, whose sinews and other built are just about as good as the ibex …

( It  is )  regarded  by  connoisseurs  as  the  most  stately , most  noble  game”

(von Riesenthal).

For the power player, however, the ibex was deemed as distinctly elitist symbol of sovereign power since Roman age, when Emperor Augustus established him imperially as his sign of the zodiac. Its original name hailing from Mesopotamia between Euphrates & Tigris up to the days of the old Greeks was goat-fish. It should have been for him when in 1493 the imperial bibliophile Maximilian I lost his way in the Martinswand face near Zierl in Tyrol. And

“ in 1603 the portrait of (Emperor) Rudolf II famous for his artistic Royal Household in an engraving by Egidius Sadeler (Hollstein 323) after … Hans von Aachen is spread. Conceptionally following allegorical sovereign portraits the half-length picture is embedded in an architecture and thematically created richly in allusion. The divine right is called up by the inscription ‘A Domino’ on the parapet, additionally on the one side it is referred to by analogy to Jupiter as father of the gods upper right and on the other hand on the left

with  the  ibex ,

the  sign  of  the  zodiac  of  Emperor  Augustus  adapted  by  Rudolf II ,

supporting  the  outstanding  power  position

whose territorial dimensions are defined in the oval type ribbon. By this derivation the empire is documented as a universal reality above the times ”

(Joachim Jacoby, Hans von Aachen 1552-1615, 2000, p. 52 along with ills. 30).

This priority claim accompanies the image of those ones born in the sign of the Capricorn to whom Rudolf II, born as Cancer, just not belonged to. However,

“ Already (in Ridinger’s time) … largely exterminated … in the Alps; merely in Italy … some few animals had survived (in Piedmont thanks to the strict preservation law of 1821 and later on the protecting hand of king Victor Emanuel II) and became the root of all colonies existing today … ”

(Bruno Hespeler in Blüchel, Die Jagd, vol. II, p. 134).

This then almost extermination corresponds with his occurrence in Ridinger’s œuvre. Thematically as materially

the  ibex  forms  pearls  within  the  haystack  of  the  stags  of  the  master .

Ref. no. 14,979 / in stock – not cataloged / request description & offer