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Old Masters, Engelbrecht, Horse Racing, Antique Print, Germany, 18th Century


Martin Engelbrecht (1684-1756) (artist and engraver)
Ludus Cursorius/ Das Mett Nennen
[Racing Game/ To Call That a Bet]
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

Engraving on the theme of horse racing, illustrating two verses, one in Latin and one in German, which appear in the lower margin. The Latin verse, with allusions to antiquity and the Olympics, describes the action in the background, a horse race where riders are urging their horses up a steep hill to a cheering crowd. The foreground illustrates a verse in German about a young man who has placed a bet and apparently used his winnings to purchase a pair of gloves and a bolt of fine cloth with which to impress and court a golden-haired shepherdess.

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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.

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

Verses on bottom:

Cernis ut in campo juvenes calearibus armos
Quadrupedum fodiant. Ardua causa subest.
Ut placeant Nymphis agrestis, omnia tentant,
Currentes stimulis fervidus urget amor.
Victor Olympiacis tulit olim praemia ludis;
Hic quoque victorem praemia digna manent.

[Rough translation:

You can see that in the field of young men
Spurs digging into the shoulders of quadrupeds,
Steepness causes them to fall behind.
The fields may please the Nymphs, all of them feel the rhythm,
Running, blazing, the stings of love weighs more heavily.
The Olympic victor once took away prizes;
Here, too, worthy of the rewards of a victor, they remain.]

Halt ein! du reitest sonst den Karren. Gaul zu schanden.
Sind ein vaar kandschuh dan dir lieber als dein Bferd?
Sind zwen, dren Ehlen tuch so großen Enfers werth,
Als wohl die Römer nicht auf ihrer Renn-Bahn fanden?
Nun seh ich, was es gilt? Es bringt dir der Gewinn
Zugleich die Lieb und Gunft der kolden Schäferin.

[Rough translation:

Stop! Otherwise you ride the cart. To shame the nag.
Is a pair of gloves worth more to you than your horse?
Are you worthy of such a large Ehlen cloth,
As probably the Romans did not find on their racing track?
Now do I see what it is? It brings you the profit
At the same time the love and affection of the golden shepherdess.]

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