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Franz Xaver Anton Günther

(born 1707 Altmannstein)

Mary with the Dead Saviour at the Foot of the Cross. Etching. 20.2 x 13.9 cm. Not in Nagler, Thieme-Becker vol. XV, p. 203.

Franz Xaver Anton Günther, a painter and engraver from Altmannstein in Upper Bavaria, was the elder brother of the prominent Rococo sculptor, Ignaz Günther (1725-1775), and like him was initially active for a time in Munich. In 1757 he was called to Bamberg by Adam Friedrich von Seinsheim, Prince Bishop of Würzburg and Bamberg, immediately after the latter’s appointment. Despite this prestigious position no paintings by Günther are known today and his very modest printed oeuvre is of great rarity. Thieme-Becker record just four etchings by Günther, all of which are probably based on his own pictorial inventions. Among these rare works is the present print of the mourning of Christ. It shows the Mother of God together with an angel and her son whose corpse has been taken down from the cross and rests at its foot. In making the etching the artist has used a very free, painterly technique which is distinguished by a multitude of graphic patterns and hatchings and accentuates the religious pathos of the scene. A very fine, nuanced impression with thread margins around the platemark. Only minor handling traces, otherwise in excellent condition.

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