THEN & THERE
ENGRAVER OF HORSES, HOUNDS, HUNTING AND FALCONRY
Article and photos by: Richard Hooper
ohann Elias Ridinger’s (1698-1776) engravings covered nearly every subject imaginable. He produced some 500 portraits, religious scenes and allegories – a prodigious accomplishment on its own. Clearly, however, his favorite subjects were hounds, horses, animals and nearly every aspect of the pursuit of game known at the time,
as there are about a thousand works on these subjects bearing his name. Born into poverty in the city of Ulm, in the state of Bavaria in Germany, he began his career as a sign painter and later apprenticed at the age of 14 to a local artist. It was a most unsatisfactory apprenticeship for Ridinger, as he received little training in art. Rather he was mostly used for mixing paint, cleaning brushes and performing other menial tasks.
Released from his apprenticeship after five years, he moved to the more affluent Augsburg, where he studied under several masters. There, he caught the attention of Count Metternich and was invited by him to stay at Ratisbon, where he was introduced to the many forms of hunting and falconry. He met royalty and observed the activities at the Engraver | Page 43