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Christian Bernhard Rode

(1725–1797, Berlin)

The Last Judgment. Etching. 39.3 x 50.8 cm. 1767. Nagler 67.

This monumental depiction of the Last Judgment, executed in a lively late Baroque style, is a reproduction of a painting Christian Bernhard Rode made in 1767. A history painter and printmaker, Rode was a prominent artistic figure in Berlin at the time of Frederick the Great. Trained by Antoine Pesne, he studied from 1750–1752 in Paris, where he was inspired by Carle Vanloo and Jean Restout. Rode subsequently spent a lengthy period in Italy, where he honed his skills by studying the works of Old Masters in Rome and Venice. In 1756 he returned to Berlin via Vienna, Prague and Dresden. A member of a well-todo family, Rode was an extremely prolific oil and fresco painter, draughtsman and etcher of religious, mythological, allegorical and literary scenes right up to his death in Berlin. In 1756 he was admitted to the Berlin Academy and, as its director from 1783, exerted a great influence on the artistic life of the city. Rode’s intricate, detailed etching technique produces velvety soft transitions and bathes the turbulent scene in a warm chiaroscuro. The artist presents an abundance of anecdotal detail, causing the beholder’s eye to flicker back and forth. Forming an effective contrast to this detail is the transparently treated celestial scene in which the enthroned judge of the world is surrounded by music-making saints and the angelic host.

A very fine, sharp impression from the uncleaned plate with numerous smeared lines along the platemark. Minor defects, otherwise in excellent condition. From the collection of L. H. de Vries (not in Lugt).                      

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