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The large heroic landscape dedicated to Schiller

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1869,0410.1649

  • Title (object)

    • The large heroic landscape dedicated to Schiller
  • Description

    Panoramic landscape with two men on galloping horses; aqueduct and domed building in the distance; tree to right; first state before all letters. 1800 Etching

  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1800
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 409 millimetres
    • Width: 512 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Signed on plate.
  • Curator's comments

    Text from Antony Griffiths and Frances Carey, 'German Printmaking in the Age of Goethe', BM 1994, no. 95:
    This print is a huge advance on 1912,0319.33, 1852,1116.308 and 1852,1116.314, and the masterpiece of Reinhart's early maturity. Its immediate origins lie in the discussions on the nature of landscape painting that he had held with his friend and fellow-lodger the art historian Carl Ludwig Fernow (1763-1808), and which were to result in Fernow's important essay 'Über die Landschaftmalerei', first published in a periodical in 1803, and revised in the second volume of his 'Römische Studien' in 1806. It is actually dedicated to Reinhart, and the six pages addressed to him refers to the six years during which they had seen each other every day. Fernow was also a close friend and legatee of Carstens (1984,0225.3 (1-24)), and moved to Weimar in 1803 with a post as librarian of Duchess Amalia, which he combined with a professorship at Jena. He became a friend of Goethe, who kept a bust of him in his home.
    Fernow's essay is too long and important to summarise, but its main tenet is that the true task of the landscape painter is to "create an aesthetic effect through the representation of ideal scenes in nature". Fernow distinguishes two historic schools of landscape painting. The first descends from Titian through the Bolognese to the two Poussins, and relies "more on the composition than the execution, more on the whole than on details" (p.29). The second springs from Paul Brill and reaches its apogee in Claude, and "devotes its study especially to the multiplicity of single objects in their forms and colours, to true local tones and the effect of light and air at the different times of day" (p. 114). Between these two ways, which are now imitated without being understood, there stands "a small number of true, independent artists, who make obeisance to no reputation, take no existing pattern of art as their model, but with unfettered senses turn to nature herself"; to this group belong Hackert (but only in his early work), Mechau, Reinhart, Boguet and Hess.
    Reinhart's composition in this print belongs to the new neo-classical landscape pioneered in Rome and Paris in the late 1770s and early 1780s by the French artist Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes (1750-1819), whose own theoretical treatise 'Eléments de Perspective' was published in 1800. This looks back to seventeenth-century prototypes, and especially the work of Nicolas and Gaspar Poussin. The low buildings deliberately echo such well-known classical monuments as the Castel San Angelo, without portraying them. The approaching storm and the two riders in armour hint at a drama that is not explained. This is usually called a 'heroic' landscape in modern literature. The term is not used in Fernow's essay, but is found in Roger de Piles's 'Cours de peinture', a standard text of French classicism published in 1708 (see Timothy F.Mitchell, 'J. C. Reinhart and the transformation of heroic landscape 1790-1800', Art Bulletin lxxi 1989, pp.646-59).
    This impression is a proof before all letters, and is of superb richness and quality. In the lettered state, it bears an unconventional dedication of lapidary brevity: "Friderico Schiller, ingenio, arte, virtule illustri D.D.D. J. C. Reinhart" (Dedicated to Friedrich Schiller, outstanding for his genius, art and excellence). Reinhart had become a friend of the famous playwright (1759-1805) in Leipzig in 1785, although they had not seen each other since his departure for Rome in 1789. He clearly felt that the production of this, his greatest print, called for a dedication of corresponding gravity, and accompanied the gift with a long letter. This initiated an exchange of letters that was only broken by Schiller's death (reprinted by Feuchtmayr pp. 139-42).
    Reinhart after asking 120 ducats eventually agreed to sell the plate of this print (which he referred to as the 'storm') to Frauenholz for 100 ducats: "You cannot conceive the labour it takes to give a painterly etched plate of this size a deep, strong tone - almost all the white paper is covered - without reducing it to a black patch."
    The print was, most unusually for Reinhart, not based on a drawing but on a painting, of the same size and in the same direction, that is now in the Stiftung Pommern in Kiel (Feuchtmayr G6, and Cologne 1984 cat.54).
    According to a letter to Frauenholz, it had a pair, 'Hylas and the nymphs', that is now lost (G61). Reinhart described both as being painted 'a la prima', but was careful to add that they were not purely sketches but were carefully finished. Koch had made a watercolour of this unconventional subject in 1796/7 (Lutterotti Z629), and although Reinhart's painting is now lost, we may guess that it looked towards Koch.

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  • Bibliography

    • Andresen 1878 96 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (German XVIIIc Mounted Atlas)

  • Exhibition history

    1994/5 Sep-Jan, BM, German Printmaking in the Age of Goethe, no. 95
    1995 Jan-Mar, Lancaster, Peter Scott Gall, German Printmaking Age/Goethe
    1995 Mar-May, Edinburgh, NG Scotland, German Printmaking Age/Goethe
    1995 May-Jun, Newcastle, Northumbria Univ, German Printmaking Age/Goethe
    1995 Jul-Aug, Plymouth City Mus & AG, German Printmaking Age/Goethe
    1995 Sep-Oct, York City AG, German Printmaking Age/Goethe
    1995 Nov-Dec, Nottingham, Djanogly AG, German Printmaking Age/Goethe

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1869

  • Acquisition notes

    Purchased from the Salamanca sale.

  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number

    1869,0410.1649

Panoramic landscape with two men on galloping horses; aqueduct and domed building in the distance; tree to right; first state before all letters. 1800 Etching

Panoramic landscape with two men on galloping horses; aqueduct and domed building in the distance; tree to right; first state before all letters. 1800 Etching

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