JOHANN CHRISTIAN REINHART
1761 Hof - Rome 1847
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Sepolcro a Falerium città Etrusca ditrutta - Roman Tomb at Falerii Novi, 1796
etching on wove paper
Andresen 72; Betthausen 20
This impression was part of the series Mahlerisch radirte Prospecte (Picturesque Etched Views). These views of Rome and its environs were executed in equal parts by Johann Christian Reinhart, Albert Christoph Dies, and Jakob Wilhelm Mechau in Rome and were published in twelve issues with six etchings each by Johann Friedrich Frauenholz in Nuremberg between 1792 and 1798.
Der Sturm, eine heroische, Schillern dedicirte Landschaft – The Storm: a Heroic Landscape Dedicated to Schiller 1800
etching on laid paper; 407 x 510 mm (16 x 20 ½ inches)
Andresen 96 between the first and second (final) state; Feuchtmayr, p. 405, second state (of three)
cat. London, Age of Goethe, no. 95
F. Carlo Schmid, Naturansichten und Ideallandschaften. Die Landschaftsgraphik von Johann
Christian Reinhart und seinem Umkreis, Berlin 1998, pp. 270–296
Herbert W. Rott, Andreas Stolzenburg, and F. Carlo Schmid (eds.), Johann Christian Reinhart.
Ein deutscher Landschaftsmaler in Rom, exhibition catalogue, Hamburger Kunsthalle/Neue
Pinakothek, Munich, 2012, no. 222
A superb, richly inked impression; a small tear in the lower margin extending slightly into the plate; otherwise in very good condition with small margins above and below and wide margins on the sides. This intermediate state is not catalogued by Andresen but described by Feuchtmayr: the plate already bears title, signature, and even the dry stamp of Reinhart’s Nuremberg publisher Frauenholz but not yet the latter’s address that was added below the composition at right in the final state.
Reinhart moved to Rome in 1789 where he became one of the central figures in the artistic colony there and among the most important landscape artists of the period. He was also the most outstanding printmaker among the German artists in Rome. His etching, Der Sturm, published in 1800 to welcome the new century, has been described as “the masterpiece of Reinhart’s early maturity” (cat. London, Age of Goethe, p. 145). It characterizes his efforts to transcribe the idealized heroic landscape style of such seventeenth-century artists as Nicolas Poussin, Gaspard Dughet, and Claude Lorrain into a new artistic language. Reinhart sought to reconcile traditional forms and motifs with the more current tendency toward naturalism in landscape art.
The bleak landscape symbolizes the troubled years in Europe after the French Revolution. The vast ominous clouds of the storm and the armored riders allude to the war that came to Rome with the French Army and the proclamation of the Roman Republic in 1798. The low buildings in the background echo well-known Roman structures: the massive tower, for example, is similar to the tomb of Cecilia Metella on the Via Appia; the viaduct is modelled on that in Civita Castellana; the domed structure references the Pantheon; and the main building in the center recalls the palace with the huge aedicula closing the Cortile della Pigna in the Vatican. The severe geometries of these buildings are imbued with the spirit of the so-called Revolutionsarchitektur It is significant, too, that the artist merges architecture, landscape, and staffage figures to create a unified image intended to evoke the new political openness of the time as well as its terrors. Reinhart dedicated this important composition to the famous playwright Friedrich Schiller with a scholarly Latin inscription in the plate that reads: Friderico Schiller, ingenio, arte, virtute illustri D.D.D. J. C. Reinhart (Dedicated to Friedrich Schiller, outstanding for his genius, art, and excellence) in honor of their friendship.