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The Four Stages of Human Age. Etching. 15.4 x 23 cm. 1770. Nagler 5.
Christian Winck, electoral court painter in Munich from 1760 and the city’s most important fresco painter in the second half of the 18th century, created a total of just seven etchings, according to Nagler, which were already considered rare in his day. The Four Stages of Human Age are set out in a sweeping narrative flow from right to left. Representing childhood are four little putti at play, one of whom points his trumpet at the young adult couple as they step forwards. The three mature scholars on the left devote themselves to their studies and intellectual endeavours; they strive for wisdom and immortalisation in written works, as is indicated by the gesture of the scholar in the middle, whose left hand points to the person immortalised in the stone bust. Standing next to the monument is the figure of Pallas Athena. The two old men in the foreground, one of whom holds a skull on his knee while the other is contemplating the open grave in front of him, serve as a memento mori. A very fine, strong impression with thread margins around the distinct platemark. Minor ageing, otherwise in impeccable condition. The etching is an exquisite rarity from the Rococo period in Germany.
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