A Denunciation of Idleness: Johann Christoph Weigel, The Lazy Fool (1709)
Denunciations of idleness were not new or unique to the eighteenth-century. The commandment to work had long been important in the Christian context, and critiques of idleness had intensified from the sixteenth century onward. Eighteenth-century bourgeois culture transformed the concept of work into a critique of the aristocratic privilege of leisure and linked work to progressive thinking. Johann Christoph Weigel (1661–1726) was a Nuremberg engraver, art dealer, and publisher. His satirical etchings of fools mocked human weaknesses, such as laziness, and were prized by eighteenth-century bibliophiles as important contributions to graphic art.
Source: Der Faule-Narr (The Lazy Fool), etching by Johann Christoph Weigel, from Centi-Folium stultorum in quarto. Oder Hundert ausbündige Narren, in Folio. Neu aufgewärmet, und in einer Alapatrit-Pasteten zum Schau-Essen aufgesetzt. Vienna, Johann Carl Megerle and Nuremberg, Johann Christoph Weigel, 1709, no pagination. Image and bibliographic information courtesy of Antiquariat Thomas Rezek, Munich (https://a-rezek.de/). This version of the etching can be viewed online at: https://a-rezek.de/tigross.jsp;jsessionid=0C87612D5FFA743FE40415FACB6E542E?id=29139152&u=0&orig=1&head=2.
Another copy of the 1709 edition of Centi-Folium stultorum in quarto can be found at the Herzog August Bibliothek (HAB) Wolfenbüttel and is available online at: http://diglib.hab.de/drucke/hm-29/start.htm?image=00011. Der Faule-Narr can be found at: http://diglib.hab.de/drucke/hm-29/start.htm?image=00197.
Der Faule-Narr was also reprinted and discussed in Paul Münch, Lebensformen in der Frühen Neuzeit. Frankfurt am Main/Munich: Propyläen, 1992, p. 365.
Courtesy of Antiquariat Thomas Rezek, Munich