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Christian Wilhelm Ernst Dietrich

called Dietricy, 1712 Weimar – 1774 Dresden

Christian Dietrich received his initial artistic tuition from his father, Johann Georg, a painter and printmaker at the court in Weimar. He subsequently enrolled at the Dresden Academy, where he studied under the landscape painter Alexander Thiele. The latter recommended his pupil to the Elector of Saxony, Augustus II the Strong, to whom Dietrich became court painter in 1731. Two years later the artist, who had called himself Dietricy since the 1730s, undertook a one-year study trip to Italy. In 1748, Dietrich was appointed Inspector of the Dresden Art Gallery, a development which coincided with a very productive period in his artistic work. A further honourable appoint­ment followed in 1763, when Dietrich was offered a professorship at the Dresden Academy. Dietrich’s paintings and prints are a perfect example of the cavalier eclecticism of his time. He absorbed the artistic idioms of the various 17th and 18th century schools, assimilating in his works influences of the Dutch Italianates as well as ideas taken from Rembrandt, Rubens, Watteau, Titian, Ricci and Rosa. Dietrich’s printed oeuvre of some two hundred prints demonstrates the diversity of his sources of inspiration and testifies to his qualities as a draughtsman.