“ A Character … who deserves the Greatest Admiration ”
Immortal Prince Eugene
The Copy of the von Roemer Collection
Rugendas I, Georg Philipp (1666 Augsburg 1742). Serenissimus Princeps Eugenius Franciscus, Dux Sabaudiæ et Pedemontÿ, Marchio de Saluzzo, Sac. Cæs. Maj. Consiliar. Int. Concilÿ Aulico-Bellici Præses, Copiarum Cæsarear. Dux Supremus et Locumtenens Generalis: S. R. I. Campi Mareschall., aurei Velleris Eques.
Franz Eugene Prince of Savoy
as , together with Marlborough , victor of Blenheim/Höchstedt ,
who “gave the Spanish War of Succession a decisive turn”.
Here with marshal’s baton in the outstretched right mounted on a white horse galloping to the right in an just allusively outlined landscape. On the right laterally in the middle distance partly schematic battle scenery. Mezzotint. (1713/14.) Inscribed: Georg Philipp Rugendas inv. et fecit Aug. Vind., otherwise as above. 18½ × 14¼ in (46.9 × 36.2 cm).
Teuscher 55. – Not in Stillfried + Nagler who both only know the not belonging to version T. 59, see below.
Qualified by provenance of the portrait collection of von Roemer father & son originating in the early 19th century which in 1871 devolved upon today’s Museum of Fine Arts Leipsic and was sold by this in 1924 obviously entirely (not only the duplicates as Lugt notes; see auction sale Boerner 142). Recto lower right its collection stamp “(Municipal Museum at Leipsic)” (Lugt 1669e), on the back the removal stamp “(Disposed by Museum of Fine Arts Leipsic)” (L. 1669f).
Trimmed close to the platemark, in places on this itself and on the right on 3.5 cm on the edge of the subject. – Mounted by old on laid paper whose margins have been laminated on the front frame-like with grey-bluish paper. The image itself braid with black surrounding line.
Very fine, highly nuanced impression of rich chiaroscuro and adequate preservation (slightly rubbed, two tiny and quite small scrapings resp. on the right in the margin, only minimally recognizable vertical fold from bottom till below the horse’s belly) to the grand
set of the princes on horseback
on galloping white horses with the marshal’s baton in the right
by the great Rugendas himself. Complete here not provable in literature anymore Andrea Teuscher states per no. 56 “c. 8 ll.” though she can describe six only (53-58). For the one she carries as 59 as “additional leaf” belongs neither stylistically nor in regard of size and caption to the set, would even be a repetition of the set-conforming portrait of Eugene here. Insofar she follows Stillfried’s error who incorporated it per 281 into the set not knowing it as Nagler neither. Also her quotation of Boerner there is unfounded as equally referring to 55 here and regarding St. 281 (T. 59/Nagler 8) as reproduction.
Pictorially the also otherwise independently worked Eugene rides on that from left to right while he deviates first stylistically from the six leaves truly belonging to by being without cap and using the marshal’s baton as pointer. But even more he figures directly in front of a large accessory of his troops filling the whole oblong format while that of T. 53-58 is limited to deeply set back small partial lateral accessory troops. The caption additionally in German and printed from own plate. The size with 13 + 2 × 10⅝ in (33 + 5.1 × 27 cm) markedly smaller.
In fact, too, the original set should be complete with the six leaves T. 53-58 as it – obviously as the one and only copy! – figured in the aforesaid Boerner sale “Collection of Engravings by Old Masters of the XVth-XVIIIth Century” as lot 1670 as follows :
“ The beautiful , large equestrian portraits
in marvelous , even , fresh impressions …
All mounted by old on blue cardboard . ”
Ergo the in the meantime dissolved copy von Roemer from the Leipsic Museum to which positions 14,363 + 14,364 here, T. 55 + 58, belonged. With here
at present no complete copy being known to literature .
Five each only Nagler described as individual plates and Count Stillfried possessed resp. Both note instead of the true Eugene its reproduction only (N. 8). Thus it should be one and the same copy which Nagler as antiquarian left to his customer. In Augsburg by the way with T. 54 one single leaf of the set only!
That this should be appended by Nagler 7 “Charles XII mounted on horseback with the sword in his hand as he drives the enemies ahead, one of the chief works of the master” as remained unknown to Teuscher seems to be unlikely by stylistic regards though, analogous to T. 53-58 (but not to T. 59!), also described by Nagler as “large folio”. For none of the six confirmed leaves of the set shows a general in contact with the enemy as mentioned for Charles XII as their contemporary. The latter then by the way as the one and only of these large prince leaves among the about 27,600 lots of parts I-XXVIII of Weigel’s Art Stock Catalogue (1838/57). Not one concerning T. 53-58! Their, and thereby of the one here, too,
rarity thus simply superb !
And this not only because of special circumstances on the market but generally. Already in 1675 the expert von Sandrart numbered “clean prints” of the velvety mezzotint manner at only c. “50 or 60” (!). “Soon after (the picture) grinds off for it not goes deeply into the copper.” Correspondingly Thienemann in 1856 by the example of Ridinger :
“ The mezzotints are almost not to be acquired on the market anymore …
and the by far largest part (of them) … (I have) only found (in the printroom) at Dresden. ”
Not even there then the elder’s Georg Philipp large set of the “Princes on Horseback” as a whole, to which later the equal-named son let follow a yet with 13⅜ × 8⅝ in (34 × 22 cm) markedly smaller one of his own of which Teuscher knows five leaves (429-433) with which T. 59 also not harmonizes. For the time of origin of the large ones by the father T. 53 sees as terminus post quem 1713 as only in that year his Frederick William (I) succeeded as king of Prussia. Since on the other hand Marlborough still figures as Princeps Mindelheimensis what became obsolete in 1714 the origin may be seen accordingly narrow.
While Nagler (1845) does not regard Rugendas as a “great Master in mezzotint” whose “compositions (were) designed full of life and always with genius though” – their first states should carry his “inv. et fec.” as here (later addresses not known here in this connection) or the address of Jeremias Wolff – Gode Krämer (1998) stresses the
“ technique of mezzotint masterly commanded by him ”
and qualifies him as “a that excellent etcher and mezzotint artist” who “in regard of Augsburg early made the mezzotint his own and introduced a new variant with the combination of the techniques of mezzotint and etching by the outline etching” (in Björn R. Kommer, ed., Rugendas / Eine Künstlerfamilie in Wandel und Tradition / Catalogue to the exhibition 1998, pp. 8 f.).
The theme of the plate here though is for no one less than
the immortal great Prince Eugene ,
the “noble knight” of the song, equally grand as general, statesman and – actively collecting man of the fine arts and sciences as especially in regard of the latter
“ no one (later in Austria) equaled Prince E. … And the splendid buildings which Vienna owes to him, his palace in the inner city, and even more the Belvedere are still today monuments of (his) chastened artistic mind …
Yet as statesman he held a position as hardly anyone else, even Kaunitz not excluded, held before and after him …
and there was no one who had six that wonderful victories, as the days of Zenta and Blenheim, of Turin and Malplaquet, of Peterwardein and Belgrade … to show for himself …
Yet the real scale for the assessment of Eugene’s greatness is based on the fact that in each of these three directions he was equally unsurpassed … and that they were borne by a character … (who) deserves the greatest admiration ”
(Alfred Ritter von Arneth in Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie, VI , pp. 409 & 411).
“ … a great bibliophile, collected since 1712 … a rich library of éditions de luxe and splendid volumes of the 17th century and fine French works from the early 18th century which he had bound in rich, armorial leather volumes (15000 books & 237 manuscripts, today in the Austrian National Library) ”
(Löffler-Kirchner I, 507).
At the start of this life was the provision to the clergy by Louis XIV at whose court the mother, Olympia Mancini, played her role. Because “too short and weak of figure, with unpleasant features”. Then the Turkish threat of the emperor became his fate :
“ By the final pushing back of the Turks and the victories over France he has exerted a decisive influence on the course of world history ”
(Meyers Konversations-Lexikon, 4th ed., V , page 901 f.).
the most noble one of Rugendas’ six “ Princes on Horseback ” ,
as an equestrian portrait whose
confirms whereupon the elder Georg Philipp Rugendas was “a first rate talent beyond doubt, for not to say a genius. Doubtless, set into better circumstances, e.g. living in the Netherlands about 1650, he would have become an artist who
would have surpassed all his horse and battle competitors ”
(Wilhelm Schmidt 1889 in Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie, XXIX, 600).
Offer no. 14,364 / price on application
please see the pendant John Churchill Duke of Marlborough , too
„ vielen Dank für die prompte Lieferung! … Nach diesem Kupferstich (Hogarth, Sleeping Congregation) habe ich übrigens ziemlich lang gesucht – offenbar immer an der falschen Stelle – und bin jetzt außerordenlich froh, ein so unversehrtes Exemplar zu besitzen … Herzlichen Dank noch mal und freundliche Grüße “
(Herr C. K., 28. Juni 2012)