JOHANN CHRISTIAN REINHART
1761 Hof – Rome 1847
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The Gerberstein in the Thuringia Forest 1788
pen and brush with brown and grey inks over traces of pencil on laid paper; 520 x 620 mm (21 x 25 inches)
signed in pen and brown ink on one of the rocks in the foreground at right C. Reinhart f. 1788; inscribed by the artist in pen and ink on the verso: Gerber Stein auf dem Thüringer Wald. für den Herzog von Meiningen gemalt
Reinhart was born in Hof in Bavaria in 1761. He studied with Adam Friedrich Oeser in Leipzig and with Johann Christian Klengel in Dresden. Between 1786 and 1789 he worked for Duke Georg I of Saxe-Meiningen in his hometown of Hof. Georg was only a few days younger than Reinhart and the two became friends – as much as this was possible beyond the boundaries of class.
This newly-discovered, fairly monumental drawing is an exquisite example for the type of artwork Reinhart created as compensation for living at court. It is notable that the artist’s inscription identifies the motif: “The Gerberstein in the Thuringia forest, painted for the Duke of Meiningen.” The rock formation known as the Gerberstein lies not far from Bad Liebenstein where the house of Meiningen had for a long time owned a castle and where they had built a palace in 1736. The view therefore documents a site within the duke’s realm. The Gerberstein rises to 730 meters above sea level and is the highest and therefore most striking peak in the region. On the left side the composition opens to reveal a view into the distance. Reinhart omits any figures and limits the staffage to some goats which are sufficient to express the enormous proportions of the rock formation that looms above them.
The inscription refers to the drawing as being “painted” (gemalt). The artist’s thereby gives his work the role of a painting which is further reinforced by its remarkable size. Although Reinhart was a highly accomplished watercolorist, he limits himself here to the use of different inks to evoke the colors of the landscape.