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Old Masters, Engelbrecht, Dog Trainer, Performing Dogs, Antique Print, Germany, 18th Century


Martin Engelbrecht (1684-1756) (artist and engraver)
Unterschiedliche, durch Bemühung und Fleiss Künstlich Abgerichte und Bezähmte Thiere
[Variety of Artificial Performing Animals, Trained and Controlled through Effort and Diligence]

Augsburg: 2nd Quarter 18th Century
Hand-colored engraving with stippling
13.25 x 18.75 inches, overall
11.5 x 7.5 inches, plate mark

Rare engraving of dog training in the 18th century. A dog trainer is shown in the foreground working with a dog that has bowed in response to a hand gesture from the trainer, who is ready to reward it with a treat from a small bag. In the background, trained dogs dressed as people in miniature clothes perform in an outdoor courtyard. They engage in human activities, walking on their hind legs, except for one that is leaping off the ground about to jump through hoops held by one of the men. A verse at the bottom praises the faithfulness, obedience and diligence of the dogs.

Product description continues below.


Martin Engelbrecht and his brother Christian were printsellers and engravers in Augsburg, Germany. Martin engraved some plates after Rugendas and other masters. His other works included illustrations for Ovid’s Metamorphoses, The War of Spanish Succession, and P. Decker’s Les Architectes Princiers, as well as other views, including 92 views of Venice. In about 1730, he created cards for miniature theaters depicting religious scenes or genre pictures of daily life that created a dimensional scene in one-point perspective when inserted into a peep box. Notably, he composed and etched a series of prints of workers and their dress, Assemblage Nouveau Des Manouvries Habilles, published at Augsburg, circa 1730. Some of his etchings of tradespeople and sportsmen are documentary or tell a story, with explanatory text or poems. Others are anthropomorphic inasmuch as the tradespeople are dressed by cleverly assembling respective trade objects that resemble clothing. Numerous examples of these are offered by George Glazer Gallery.

Inscription beneath title: Magno studio ad varias artes mansuefactae bestiae. [The great studio in which the beasts are tamed in various types of skills.]

Publication credits: C. Pr. S. C. Maj. M. Engelbrecht fec. et excud. A.V.

Verse on bottom: Der getreue u: durch Po Nierl: Vorstellung sehenswürdige Hund:/ Seht, was nichte um das Geld geschiht./ Das Menschen feyrend könen leben,/ So muß in Mienschlichem habit/ Sich mancher hund vil Mühe geben/ Mit Tanzen, springen, behlen, Beichen,/ Die kaum kan die Dernunfft emeichen;/ Man sehret sie gar Menschen Sprach,/ Was noch so sehmer scheint ausbufühie,/ Das ahmen sie durch libung nach./ Bil Menschen möchte von den Thieren/ Die Treu, gehorsam, Fleiss bemühen/ Bur Nachfolg in Bedencken Biehen.

Condition: Generally very good, recently professionally cleaned and deacidified with the usual remaining light overall toning and wear.


Bénézit, E. Dictionnaire critique et documentaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs. France: Librairie Gründ, 1966. Vol. 3, p. 582.

McNiff, Megan. “Early Home Entertainment: Engelbrecht’s Miniature Theaters.” Houghton Library Blog, Harvard University. 14 August 2015. (19 June 2018).

Williamson, George C., ed. Bryan’s Dictionary of Painters and Engravers. London: G. Bell and Sons: 1930. Vol. 2, pp. 128-129.

Additional information


18th Century