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A Scholar in his Study Chamber. Red chalk drawing. 26 x 17.7 cm. Monogrammed: “JH”.
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This fine portrait of a scholar shows a middle-aged man sat at a Baroque desk facing the viewer. The architectural fittings of the studiolo with columns and pilasters point to a noble background, while the full-bottomed wig and the sumptuous brocade dressing gown betray prosperity and an awareness of the sitter’s social status. Folios, apothecary bottles and glasses with preparations can be seen in a niche in the background. The person portrayed is thus in all probability a scientist or doctor. He points with his left hand to a statue of Eva, who holds the symbols of the fall from grace in her hands and hence serves as a reference to human mortality.
The author of this sensitively rendered scene, Johann Daniel Herz, was one of the outstanding draughtsmen, engravers and print publishers in 18th century Augsburg. No complete list of his extensive corpus of prints is available to date. Herz was an extremely productive engraver who participated in famous large projects such as Paul Decker’s monumental Architectura civilis (1711–16) and the Neue Reitkunst by Johann Elias Ridinger. Moreover, he was an experienced and talented draughtsman. The concentrated style of our drawing and the precise hatchings are an indication that the sheet might have been designed as
a preliminary drawing for the engraved frontispiece of a scientific treatise.