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Johann Georg Bergmüller

(1688 Türkheim – 1762 Augsburg)

The Twelve Olympic Gods with the Signs of the Zodiac. Suite of 12 etchings. Each measuring approx. 21.9 x 13.2 cm. Le Blanc 99–110.

Johann Georg Bergmüller was influential as a painter of pic­tures and frescoes and he also produced a substantial printed oeuvre encompassing religious and mythological subjects as well as allegorical depictions. The present suite of Olympic gods is extremely rare and was unknown to older authors such as Nagler and Heller-Andresen. The series, which has been executed in an agile but accurate manner, is distinguished by the inventiveness of its iconography and the ingenuity of its conception. The individual scenes abound with countless original and humorous details, there apparently being no limit to Bergmüller’s creative imagination. These gods do not inspire awe; cheerful and elated, they behave like actors in a baroque play. The exotic animals surrounding them give the depictions additional flair. Splashing and romping about are swordfish and other sea creatures, lions, monkeys, a red deer with impressive antlers and all kinds of birds together with rural working animals such as cattle, goats, pigs and hens. All these animals are very astutely observed and presented in charac­teristic poses. The result is an extraordinarily delightful and visually stimulating ensemble which perfectly embodies the wealth of forms and vibrant dynamism of the Augsburg Baroque.

Johann Georg Bergmüller trained as a painter under Andreas Wolff in Munich before settling in Augsburg as an independent master in 1713. His career as an artist proved extremely successful. In 1730 he was appointed director of the city’s Academy, a further important step up the career ladder following in 1739 with his appointment to the position of Augsburg cabinet and court painter. A much sought-after creator of altar-pieces and frescoes, he achieved considerable renown before his death in 1762.

Bergmüller is unquestionably one of the outstanding figures of the Augsburg Baroque, his activities making the city one of the leading art centres in southern Germany. In addition to his artistic endeavours he was a pioneering and influential, teacher, whose pupils and assistants included, for example, Gottfried Bernhard Göz, Matthäus Günther and Josef Anton Huber. Very fine impressions with thread margins around the borderline. Minor ageing, otherwise in mint condition.

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