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Christian Wilhelm Ernst Dietrich

(known as Dietricy, 1712 Weimar – 1774 Dresden)

Nymphs Bathing in a Rock Cave. Etching. 19.9 x 27.5 cm. 1741. Linck 136 II (of IV).

Dietrich, who signed his works “Dietricy” after 1732, is a classic example of 18th century eclecticism. He was a master of all the schools and styles in demand at the time and made use of them in both his paintings and printmaking. In honing his talents he focused primarily on Dutch 17th century masters. He concentrated mainly on the Italianizing Dutch masters, although Rubens, Rembrandt, Adriaen van Ostade and Cornelis van Poelenburgh were also a source of inspiration. In stylistic terms the present depiction of bathing nymphs surprised by shepherds was inspired by Cornelis van Poelenburgh’s formal idiom. The etching is on offer in the early second state before the inclusion of additional hatching around the head of the shepherd in the background on the right: Linck described it as “very rare”. A superb, deep black and richly printed impression with traces of thread margins around the platemark. An unobtrusive centre fold, minor ageing, otherwise in impeccable condition.

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