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18th Century Watercolor of a Great Sword Duel in Germany

$6,700

About

A truly rare and remarkable scene of hundreds of swordsmen meeting in a towns square. The circle is closed around the two in the duel, each of whom have drawn blood. German school 18th century. Titled Duel at Jena and indistinctly signed on the back. Watercolor measures 4.25" x 7.25" and 11" x 13.5" including the frame. Scraps, fights, and duels with thrusting swords had been a constant phenomenon in 17th- and 18th-century German university life. The number of incidents waxed and waned over the decades, depending on the political situation, the ups and downs of economic cycles, on wars and plagues, and especially on the moral and religious climate of the times. During some periods, several students died at each others’ hands within a few years. At other times, decades could pass between killings. Most of these encounters resulted from mixing three combustible elements: Testosterone, steel, and alcohol. No matter the outcome, the consequences could be devastating to the participants: Death, mutilation and lasting illness, or, at best, relegation from the university. Those who by skill or, more frequently, chance, managed to outlast their opponents, faced murder charges and the hangman. If they had removed themselves from the jurisdiction, the university and local authorities would actually make the effort to hang the surviving duelist in effigy. In Germany, the sword as sidearm had always played a pre-eminent role as a badge of rank and standing. Originally a privilege of the nobility, carrying the Degen on your side was a visible sign of belonging to the top tier of society. Even university professors didn’t want to stand back to the Degen of their aristocratic students and demanded a sword to go with their robes and vestments of office. The young aristocrats’ bürgerlich fellow students didn’t either—and neither did the craftsmen’s apprentices who rubbed elbows and scrapped with the students. In the last decades of the 18th century, everyone was wearing a sword on his side in university towns like Jena, Halle, Erlangen, or Würzburg. Credit: The Historical Fencer.

Details

  • Dimensions
    Height: 11 in. (27.94 cm)Width: 13.5 in. (34.29 cm)Depth: 1 in. (2.54 cm)
  • Style
    Folk Art (Of the Period)
  • Materials and Techniques
  • Place of Origin
  • Period
    1750-1759
  • Date of Manufacture
    1750
  • Condition
    Wear consistent with age and use. In very good condition considering its age. Very nicely framed.
  • Seller Location
    Boulder, CO
  • Reference Number
    1stDibs: LU1017621962302

Shipping & Returns

  • Shipping
    Rates vary by destination and complexity. We recommend this shipping type based on item size, type and fragility.
    Ships From: Boulder, CO
  • Return Policy

    A return for this item may be initiated within 3 days of delivery.

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About the Seller
5 / 5
Located in Boulder, CO
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Established in 1998
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