WILHELM FRIEDRICH GMELIN

1760 Badenweiler – Rom 1820

Dissertazioni di Tivoli e di Albano

Dissertazioni di Tivoli e di Albano, 1816

the complete set of twelve engravings on wove paper with title page and twelve pages of letterpress text on six sheets of laid paper; sheet size 410 x 545 mm (6 1/8 x 21 7/16 inches)
Borchardt 146–158

Gmelin received his initial training with the engraver and publisher Christian von Mechel in Basel from 1776 onward. In 1786, after the end of his apprenticeship, he traveled to Rome where, with the exception of two trips to Germany in 1789 and again in 1798–1800, he would stay for the rest of his life. Gmelin was one of the few German artists of the period who made landscape prints that are primarily engraved rather than etched. In 1793 Gmelin, like Johann Christian Reinhart before him, started to collaborate with the publisher Johann Friedrich Frauenholz in Nuremberg. In 1816 he published the Dissertazioni, one of the highpoints of his printed oeuvre. The set combines views of Tivoli and Albano and their respective environs that had been made over the course of the previous decade. It also included his depiction of Rome’s Protestant cemetery near the Pyramid of Cestius along the Aurelian Wall. Tourists could therefore effectively acquire all of Gmelin’s views of Latium in one single portfolio. For this grouping, the artist took great care to balance pure landscapes with depictions of architecture, even including some architectural interiors. Choosing only well-known and popular sites, he also insured the desirability of this prints as souvenirs. The accompanying text, which is often missing but is part of the present set, explains the depicted views in both Italian and French. This adds a scholarly aspect to the Dissertazioni that makes them stand out from most of the other comparable print portfolios available at the time.
Dissertazioni di Tivoli e di Albano, 1816

Dissertazioni di Tivoli e di Albano, 1816

the complete set of twelve engravings on wove paper with title page and twelve pages of letterpress text on six sheets of laid paper; sheet size 410 x 545 mm (6 1/8 x 21 7/16 inches)
Borchardt 146–158

Gmelin received his initial training with the engraver and publisher Christian von Mechel in Basel from 1776 onward. In 1786, after the end of his apprenticeship, he traveled to Rome where, with the exception of two trips to Germany in 1789 and again in 1798–1800, he would stay for the rest of his life. Gmelin was one of the few German artists of the period who made landscape prints that are primarily engraved rather than etched. In 1793 Gmelin, like Johann Christian Reinhart before him, started to collaborate with the publisher Johann Friedrich Frauenholz in Nuremberg. In 1816 he published the Dissertazioni, one of the highpoints of his printed oeuvre. The set combines views of Tivoli and Albano and their respective environs that had been made over the course of the previous decade. It also included his depiction of Rome’s Protestant cemetery near the Pyramid of Cestius along the Aurelian Wall. Tourists could therefore effectively acquire all of Gmelin’s views of Latium in one single portfolio. For this grouping, the artist took great care to balance pure landscapes with depictions of architecture, even including some architectural interiors. Choosing only well-known and popular sites, he also insured the desirability of this prints as souvenirs. The accompanying text, which is often missing but is part of the present set, explains the depicted views in both Italian and French. This adds a scholarly aspect to the Dissertazioni that makes them stand out from most of the other comparable print portfolios available at the time.