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Ancient Fragments; Ancient Tombs. Two lithographs with a yellowish-brown tint-stone on wove paper. 33.9 x 43.3 and 34.3 x 44.6 cm. 1818. Winkler, Die Frühzeit der deutschen Lithographie, 243, 1 III, 2 II.
The architect Friedrich von Gärtner received his artistic training from some of the leading master builders of his time: Friedrich Weinbrenner in Karlsruhe and later Percier and Fontaine in Paris. In 1815, Gärtner set off for Italy on an educational tour that was to last several years, which he spent in an intensive study of the art of antiquity. Two extensive lithographical series – Views of the Best Preserved Greek Monuments in Sicily (1819, Winkler 3–15) and Roman Architectural Decoration (1824, Winkler 16) – attest to the painstaking scientific thoroughness of his research. The two present lithographs, conceived as pendants, are among Gärtner’s earliest works in this field. They owe their charm to his mastery of the medium and their fine chiaroscuro effects. With a wealth of detail and great delicacy of line Gärtner depicts his atmospheric and romantically overcharged vision of the ancient world. The delicate white highlights, achieved by a skilful use of the white tone of the paper, are very effective. The carefully arranged architectural fragments – remains of temples, ancient sarcophagi, sculptures and garden vases – are set in a lush Mediterranean landscape. The theme of transience plays a subordinate role, being overlaid by a mild nature lyricism and nostalgia for Italy.
Very fine impressions with margins. Slight aging, otherwise excellently preserved. Rare.