Die Werke der Finsternis | Works of darkness by Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki

Available at H. W. Fichter Kunsthandel

  • Date: 1781
  • Type: Prints
  • Medium: Etching
  • Edition size: unknown
  • Image Size: 21,6 x 28,1 cm
  • Sheet Size: 29,2 x 41,6
  • Signed: Signed
  • Condition: Pristine
  • Price: Price on Application

Description — Click to read

Collection Gretschel

Print before all fonts.


The sharp increase in the need for new reading material in the emancipating middle classes from the middle of the 18th century at the latest inspired not only literary culture but also the culture of piracy. Copyright law was only introduced in Germany in 1837 and thus unlawfully published reprints supplied the public, to the detriment of authors and publishers. This work by Chodowiecki, commissioned by the bookseller and publisher Himburg, expresses the evil in satirical drasticism. A well fed robbery printer takes off the honest publisher's last shirt while Justitia sleeps at his feet. The declaiming pose of the robbed publisher makes him appear to be a steadfast hero of virtue, but he remains a fool, for in the picture there is no hint of an end to this injustice. An unintentionally ironic and for many contemporary viewers certainly known fact lies in the fact that the publisher Himburg, as patron of the paper, who here calls for honesty, himself belonged to the robbery printers. In 1775, for example, he had Goethe's Werther reprinted without authorization - Chodowiecki supplied the copper.


Catalogue raisonné: E 394 I/II


satire, criticism, society, book printing, publishers, reprints, justice, allegory, classicism, genre


Very good condition, some slight foxing spots are visible, short tear at upper right margin.

Chod/D 1005

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