Arcadian Landscape with Three Figures at a Lake, 1792
Johann Christian Reinhart (German, 1761–1847)
Black chalk and white gouache on two sheets of brown paper, laid down; 23 x 33 7/8 in. (58.4 x 86 cm)
Inscribed at center bottom in pen and brown ink: C Reinhart fec Romae 1792
Rogers Fund, 2007 (2007.264)
According to the inscription, this impressive drawing was made by Johann Christian Reinhart in Rome in 1792, when he and another leading German artist from the period, Joseph Anton Koch, started making so-called heroic landscapes inspired as much by reminiscences of the Roman campagna as by their precursors Claude Lorrain, Nicolas Poussin, and Gaspard Dughet. The ambitious nature of this drawing is rare among Reinhart's drawn landscapes in this vein. Although the figures in antique dress seem to hint at a specific, possibly mythological subject, they were probably used merely to indicate the antique setting of the landscape, as were the villa or small city that can be seen in the left background and the two funerary monuments in the center and the right background. The dense composition and the regular hatching are both typical of Reinhart's work throughout his career. The drawing is related to a painting Reinhart made in 1796 (Museum Georg Schäfer, Schweinfurt), but it cannot be said to be preparatory as it differs from the painting in many ways. Fully signed and dated and preserved in what is likely to be its original frame, the drawing was made as an independent work of art.