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Johann Georg Trautmann

(1713 Zweibrücken – 1769 Frankfurt am Main)

The Resurrection of Lazarus. Etching. 21.3 x 16.9 cm. Nagler 1; Kölsch D1.

Although Johann Georg Trautmann’s oeuvre reveals various sources of inspiration, his reputation is due mainly due to his work in the style of Rembrandt, which enjoyed great esteem during his lifetime. Thanks to the good offices of Goethe, Trautmann received a commission for a few paintings from the French Count of Thoran in about 1759. Goethe reports that Trautmann “Rembrandised” some resurrection episodes from the New Testament (see Goethe, Aus meinem Leben, vol. I, p. 198). Trautmann can be seen as the representative of a group of Frankfurt artists who responded in their work to the late eighteenth-century enthusiasm among art collectors and critics for Rembrandt and Dutch seventeenth century art.

The importance of Rembrandt and his school in Trautmann’s oeuvre is readily apparent in this etching, as it brings together a number of stylistic elements from the two Lazarus etchings made by Rembrandt (Bartsch 72 and 73) and several more from the etching of the same subject by Jan Lievens. A comparison of the different prints shows how Trautmann arranged his composition by assembling from Rembrandt’s and Lievens’ prints those elements which produced the greatest overall effect, such as the pronounced chiaroscuro and the allusion to the divine transparency of the figure of Christ. Despite its rarity today, this print must have enjoyed considerable popularity among contemporary collectors, because Trautmann produced different versions, changing the colour of the paper or ink according to the collector’s wishes. A painting with a very similar composition is in a private collection in southern Germany (see Kölsch G 25).

A very fine impression with even margins. Some foxing, slight traces of handling in the lower margin, otherwise in very good condition. From the collection of the library of the Heidelberg University, Germany. Collection mark on verso.

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