9920

INTERESTING PAIR OF REVERSE GLASS PAINTINGS DEPICTING ALLEGORIES OF AFRICA AND THE ORIENT

Augsburg. Early 18th Century.

Measurements

Including frame:
Height: 9" (23 cm)
Width: 11 3/8" (29 cm)

Research

Oil on glass in original molded stained pearwood frames.

The present reverse glass paintings, depicting Africa and Asia, were executed after designs by Johann Wolfgang Baumgartner (1702-1761) and published by Johann Georg Hertel. A set of these prints, reproduced by Jacob Gottlieb Thelott (1708-1760), is in the collection of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco (figure 1).

Reverse painting on glass is a difficult undertaking because the process, as the name implies, involves applying pigment in reverse to the normal order. Highlights and fine details, which would normally be the finishing touches of a painting, must be put down first, and therefore over-painting and erasing are not possible. The artist was, however, able to place an existing drawing below the glass to use as a guide. “Prints, readily available from engravers, apparently were used as patterns. Some were reproduced in full, while others were cropped to show only a segment, a single figure, or a specific detail.”1 In the case of the present paintings, the main figure and immediate surroundings were used, but they have been set in an invented landscape.

Full research report available on request.

Full research report available on request.