Johann Elias Ridinger, Triumph of Death

Johann Elias Ridinger (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). Triumph of Death. Engraving + etching after Andrea Andreani (also Andriani, Andreini, Andreasso, Andrea Mantuano; 1558/59 Mantua 1629) based on his chiaroscuro woodcut after Giovanni Fortuna Fortunius (1535 Siena 1611). Inscribed: Joh. El. Ridinger excud. Aug. Vind. Sheet size 22½ × 16 in (57 × 40.6 cm).

Unknown to the respective literature on Ridinger up to Wend, Ergänzungen zu den Œuvreverzeichnissen der Druckgrafik (1975), Niemeyer, Die Vanitas-Symbolik bei Joh. El. Ridinger (in L’Art Macabre, vol. 2, 2001, enlarged version in the internet) and the important catalogues of collections, sales, and exhibitions from Weigel (1838) till the present except for the torso with formerly Count Radulf of Castell-Rüdenhausen cut under significant image loss.

In its size visibly larger than Andreani’s colour wood engraving of 1588 worked in his best period in Siena (20⅛ × 13⅜ in [51.1 × 33.9 cm] image size) of which in countless Old Master catalogues of the last decades just one copy of the 2nd state can be proven here which almost quintupled its estimate accordingly (1994). As a whole then missing, too, amongst the not identical respective seven Andreanis of the collections Lanna (1895, + 3 variants) + Davidsohn (1920/21).

This extreme rareness of Andreani’s print (already in 1858 Nagler, Monogramists I, 86: very rare) imparts Ridinger’s leaf an additionally high evidence.

Andreani’s generally only small œuvre today estimated at c. 70 works (AKL, 1990, and “his work is to be valued as historically and art-historically significant today” as Nagler, Monogramists I, 86, recorded already in 1858: “… the extraordinary activity of a man … about whom was often judged too severely since Bartsch … Andreani has to be looked at from a different viewpoint …” and in the same place per 1017: “the famous form cutter”), of which a major part falls into the time after 1600 though when he was active in Mantua as dealer and publisher only with him nevertheless putting his monogram on blocks of other artists bought by him. But two works from 1608 and 1610 resp. are considered as original again. Bartsch’s principle stock of 25 plus two uncertain ones not quite up to date in both number and composition.

Fine, not quite contemporary impression on lines-free paper with wordmark watermark and surrounding fine margin around the image’s borderline. Only here and there trimmed closely to it. The certain agemarkedness countered by professional restorative means as the backside (water) spottiness shines only partially quite lightly through to the picture side. In the hatched marginal field lower right written note on the artist only barely visible anymore. Shortly, a rarissimum looking for its equals of fine total impression.

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