1734 St. Gallen - Leipzig 1816

Blick auf das Städtchen Herrnhut in der Oberlausitz – View of the Town of Herrnhut in Upper Lusatia ca. 1800

outline etching with brown wash on wove paper; with the artist’s stamp in the upper-right corner; tipped in at three corners on a contemporary album sheet; inscribed on the mount in pen and ink at lower right A. Zingg fec. and on the verso Herrnhuth

302 x 430 mm (11 ⅞ x 16 ⅞ inches)

The hand-colored print offered here is in pristine, fresh condition and survives on its contemporary mat.

After early success producing views of his Swiss homeland, Adrian Zingg went to Paris where he worked from 1759 in the etching studio of Johann Georg Wille (1715–1808). In 1766 he was made professor at the academy in Dresden. In his topographical views he freed himself from contemporary notions of landscape still dependent on those of seventeenth-century Netherlandish art. Zingg was among the first to “discover” the local landscape and he also travelled extensively through Saxony and neighboring Bohemia. His views ultimately set the stage for the next generation of the Dresden Romantics. Zingg’s specialty was outline etchings meticulously colored in monochrome brown (or sometimes gray) washes. The sheets were always trimmed within the platemark and then attached to simple mats (similar to those used for drawings) before being offered for sale. Since they were sold as souvenirs to tourists and meant to be hung on the wall, many of them perished through exposure to light; surviving examples have often also lost their original mats. It is fairly unusual, therefore, to come across these large views in such pristine condition—and it is thus highly unlikely that these impressions were ever displayed as intended.

The print shows the small town of Herrnhut not far from Görlitz and Zittau in Upper Lusatia, a part of Saxonia. The town is known as the founding home of the religious community of the Herrnhuter Brüdergemeinde. In 1722 Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf (1700–1760) gave asylum in his house there to Moravian Protestants expelled from their country due to religious persecution. This community expanded and sent out missionaries; today it is known as the Moravian Church, with branches not only in Herrnhut and Bad Boll in Germany but also in the United States in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Zingg’s view shows the village of Herrnhut with the prayer hall in the center and the cemetery on the side of the Hutberg mountain. At the top is an observation tower, built in 1790. To the right of the image is the former house of Zinzendorf that became the headquarters of the community after his death (as it remains). Zingg shows the village as an idealized Enlightenment city with classical structures, elegantly attired inhabitants, and a tree-lined path leading to the mountain ranges beyond.