Prints and printmaking, £12.99
Height: 334.000 mm
Width: 210.000 mm
PD 1863-6-13-1299 (Engelmann 572)
Prints and Drawings
Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, The Improvement of Morals, an etching
Germany, AD 1786
Satirizing the attempts of a Berlin publisher to improve public morals
By the age of 60, Chodowiecki (1726-1801) had been the most successful printmaker in Berlin for some twenty years. His professional standing was such that he helped reorganise the Berlin Academy of Art, of which he later became director. When a Berlin publisher issued a series of prints aimed at improving public morals, a field he had already claimed as his own, Chodowiecki issued this plate to mock the upstart's presumption.
Chodowiecki shows his rival on a raised platform pointing to thirteen prints that illustrate contemporary conduct: a ball, a play, skating, theft, murder, divorce, etc. Neither he nor the small crowd notice the scenes of human folly visible in the background, that are recorded by two draughtsmen. On the left they include different forms of suicide, a duel, and a balloonist falling to his death.
largely self taught as an etcher, and his technique of dots,
flicks, parallel lines and
F. Carey and A. Griffiths, German printmaking in the age, exh. cat. (London, The British Museum Press, 1994)