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Johann Heinrich Tischbein the Elder

(known as the “Kasseler Tischbein“, 1722 Haina – 1789 Kassel)

The Resurrection of Christ. Etching. 43.6 x 29.6 cm. 1763. Nagler 2; Le Blanc 2. Watermark: Countermark.

Johann Heinrich Tischbein the Elder was trained in Kassel and subsequently went to Frankfurt am Main, Paris, Venice and Rome to continue his artistic studies. In 1752 Landgrave Wilhelm VIII of Hessen-Kassel appointed him court painter. This was followed by other appointments as professor at the Collegium Carolinum in Kassel (1762) and director of the Academy there (1776). Tischbein is considered one of the foremost portrait painters of his time, but he was also active in the field of history and genre painting. His art perfectly reflects the refined aesthetics of the courtly era.

The Resurrection of Christ is regarded as the master’s principal work after the altar painting he made in Hamburg’s main Church of St. Michael in 1763 which was destroyed by fire in 1906. The turbulent scene radiates Baroque pathos incorporating a hint of the theatrical. The risen Christ emerges from his tomb with a gesture of triumph. He is bathed in celestial light which forces the soldiers standing guard to shrink back in fear. The entire scene is full of tremendous inner unrest and dynamism that are in keeping with the divine event. A superb, crisp and highly effective impression of this rare etching, with thread margins at the top and bottom and with margins on the left and right. Minor ageing, otherwise in excellent condition.

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