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Bartholomäus Reiter

(died 1622 in Munich)

The Christ Child holding the Globe; A Child sitting on a Skull and Blowing Soap Bubbles. Two etchings. Each ca. 10 x 7.8 cm. 1610. Heller-Andresen 3 respectively undescribed; Nagler 1, 10 I (of II).

Little is known about the life and work of Bartholomäus Reiter, a painter and etcher from Munich. Although his exact date of birth is not recorded, it seems certain that he became apprenticed to Hans Ostendorfer in 1583. By about 1589 Reiter had become an independent master in Munich. Even though Nagler called him “one of the foremost Munich artists of his time”, hardly any of his original works have survived. Reiter is reputed to have been close to Peter Candid, under whose direction he executed ceiling paintings in the Residenz in Munich. Notwithstanding their high quality, the prints he produced between 1610 and 1615 were not very numerous and, as Nagler noted, good impressions are rare.

The two present works were executed in a light, relatively simple etching technique. A certain naiveté in the drawing contributes much to the special charm of these small images. It is worth pointing out that the physiognomy of the infant Jesus is strikingly similar to the boy in the Vanitas image and obviously corresponds to a prototype preferred by the artist.

Very fine, early impressions printed with tone, trimmed to the borderlines, Nagler 10 before the address of Zimmermann. On the mount of the collector Peter Visscher (Lugt 2115, “vers 1800 le plus sérieux connaisseur et le plus actif collectioneur de Bâle”).

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