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Martin Johann Schmidt

(called Kremser-Schmidt, 1718 Grafenwörth – 1801 Stein a.d. Donau)

St. Nicholas Saves the Shipwrecked. Etching. 23.4 x 12.4 cm. 1771. Garzarolli-Thurnlackh 17; Feuchtmüller 18.

This etching, a reproduction of an altar piece Schmidt made for the Cathedral of Waitzen in Hungary, veritably bristles with Baroque vigour. St. Nicholas, dressed in full bishop’s regalia, floats down from the heavens on a cloud to rescue sailors in distress. The sailing boat, which veers up out of the waves, is being steered by the helmsman with the courage born of desperation. A man is clinging in mortal fear to the broken mast while another sailor attempts to rescue a woman and her child who have been swept overboard. The dramatic scene is rendered using an agitated, subtly differentiated technique which brilliantly translates the tonal values of the original painting to the black-and-white medium of printmaking. A very fine, contrasting impression with the full paper margins. In excellent condition.

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