A rare and interesting, early portrait of the semitic scholar Johann Heinrich Hottinger (1620-67). A smiling, bearded man, he is depicted enclosed in an oval, wearing a skullcap, ruff and academic robes. In the background is a panorama of his home city of Zurich, Switzerland. Provided with a public stipend, he studied Semitic languages and theology in Groningen under the eminent scholars Gomaras, Heinrich Alting, and Pasor, and in Leyden under Jacob Alting and Golius. He became private tutor in the house of Golius, but in 1642 returned to Zurich, where he was appointed Professor of Church History and later also of Semitic languages. In 1655 he was invited to Heidelberg to restore the churches and schools after the destruction of the Thirty Years’ War, and to reestablish the theological faculty. His main activity was directed toward the revival of Hebrew and ancient languages. In 1656 he was elected rector of the university. In 1661 he returned to Zurich. He accepted a call to Leyden, but, tragically, with three of his children, was drowned in the River Limmat before he had arranged his affairs to leave Zurich. Hottinger is widely regarded as a founder of Oriental linguistics, archeology and literary science, and it is largely due to his work that Hebrew and ancient semitic languages regained a place in the mainstream of european academic study.
(Johann Heinrich Hottinger)
Georg Meyer (Johann Heinrich Hottinger) Joh. Henricus Hottingerus, SS. Theologiæ. D. Antiq. Tigur. Carolini Prof. Et p 1, Rector: Seren. Elect. Palat. A Consil Sacris, ætat XLIV. Ao MDCLXIV. (Zurich), 1664 Etching 170x120mm Trimmed within platemark, neat repair to bottom margin