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A Broad Rhine Landscape with a View of Heidelberg in the Background. Etching on greyish-brown firm laid paper, with white heightening. 24.2 x 31.8 cm. Nagler 2, Le Blanc 2, Heller-Andresen 2.
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Christian Georg Schütz, a native of Flörsheim in Hesse, was a largely self-taught artist who gained a considerable reputation in the course of his long career as a landscape painter in Frankfurt. He was a skilful, prolific and eminently successful painter who frequently worked simultaneously on several paintings. His central theme, which he portrayed in ever-changing variations, was the picturesque landscape along the rivers Rhine and Main where he grew up. As a landscapist Schütz was profoundly influenced by his great Dutch predecessor, Herman Saftleven, although his works reveal a poetically idealised view of nature which was fully in keeping with the spirit of the age.
Schütz made just two etchings – an indication of how deeply involved he was in the production of paintings. Nevertheless, the present print shows him to be a skilful and talented etcher, whose delicate linework reproduces and artistically heightens the wide-ranging, picturesque river landscape around the city of Heidelberg, turning it into a “universal landscape”, as it were. His consummate, unconstrained and surprisingly varied style of etching produces subtle atmospheric transitions and an intriguing three-dimensional effect. The artist is helped in this respect by the warm patina of the delicately tinted paper; the soft, manually applied white heightening on the terrain and the staffage figures in the right foreground lends the work added charm. Impressions reworked by the artist himself are of the utmost rarity.