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Speculum passionis domini nostri Jesu Christi

A Masterwork of Sixteenth-Century German Woodcuts by Dürer’s Students


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479.     PINDER, Ulrich. Speculum passionis domini nostri Jesu Christi. Jn quo reluce[n]t hec omnia singulariter vere et absolute: puta. Omnis [pro]fectio Hierarchie. Omniu[m] fidelium beatitudo. Omnes virtutes. Dona. Fructus. Et spiritualium bonoru[m] omnium efficacia…Oswaldus Helonesiotes. Lectori…. [at end] …Per doctorem Vdalricum Pinder connexum: in ciuitate imperiali Nurembergem…per Federicum Peypus impressum…Anno…M.D. XIX…]. Nuremberg: Friedrich Peypus for Georg Glockendon, October 11, 1519. 78 foliated leaves printed in double column, gothic type, with roman type for biblical text in second part, 41 woodcuts and numerous woodcut initials: 39 full-page woodcuts (including 5 repeats) of Christ’s life and the Passion; plus one three-quarter-page woodcut of the rosary at end; one smaller woodcut on second leaf of text; numerous white-on-black woodcut initial letters in text (woodcuts by Hans Schäufelein and others; see below). 4to (32.6 x 22 cm), early vellum rebacked in late eighteenth-century brown Mexican sheep, spine with raised bands and gilt lettering. Spine worn, rubbed, and with some flaying, corners of vellum bumped (some losses to lower corners, with some board exposed), hinges reinforced with archival paper, nineteenth-century wood pulp endpapers (should be lifted to examine label and possible other markings beneath), a few scattered, very small worm holes (marginal with no loss of text or illustrations), a few short, clean tears to blank margins (not affecting text or illustrations), mild uniform browning to text, light stains at lower blank margin of a few leaves, overall a very good copy of a rare and stately book. Occasional neat contemporary inking over of a derriere or other body part for modesty’s sake. Light neat pencil notes from the year 2000 on verso of front free endpaper (bibliographical, pricing, and other notes). Eighteenth-century ink ownership notes on first and last leaves and on two interior leaves (fols xviv & xxxiiiv) for Convento Real de Nuestro Padre de Santo Domingo in Mexico. Occasional very early ink notations in text. Ink stamp of S. Alonso Durán on a few leaves. Two twentieth-century bookplates: “Ex Libris J.E.” (with corn glyph) and “Juan Alcáraz | Contra la Ignorancia un Libro.” Two early marcas de fuego on fore-edges.

     Second edition of the first book illustrated by Hans Schäufelein to contain prints signed by him, student and journeyman under Dürer, entrusted with painting important projects when the master was away. The first edition (Nuremberg, 1507) did not contain the last woodcut of the Rosary by Erhard Schön. Brunet IV:664-665. Dodgson I, p. 423 & II, p. 12 (also cf. pp. 5-6 for 1507 edition). Fairfax Murray, German Books 333. British Museum (German Books), p. 697. Graesse V:298. Hollstein, German XLIII, pp. 95-131. Proctor 11132. Not in Adams.

     This work ranks among the masterworks of German book illustration and reflects the strong influence of Dürer, most of the woodcuts having been created by Hans Schäufelein (ca. 1480-1540), Dürer’s student and journeyman. A few woodcuts are by other artists: Hans Baldung Grien (ca. 1484 or 1485-1545 and worked in Dürer’s studio 1504-1507); Erhard Schön (ca. 1491-1542, one of most prolific woodblock designers, who lived in Dürer’s home for many years); and either Hans Süss von Kulmbach (ca. 1485-1522, who continued Dürer’s commissions after he retired and later joined Hans Holbein the Elder) or Wolf Traut (1480 or 1486-1520, collaborated with Dürer on the design of the Triumphal Arch of Maximilian I and other projects).

     In her recent study, Albrecht Dürer: A Biography (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990, pp. 109-112), Jane Campbell Hutchinson, discusses the remarkable generosity with which Dürer ran his workshop. By 1503, Dürer had three journeymen, Hans Süss, Hans Schäufelein, and Hans Baldung:

Dürer not only taught these three young men, and assigned them portions of the workshop projects, but helped them to begin earning independently—Schäufelein, for example, was permitted to sign certain works as his own as early as 1504…. Dürer’s students were allowed to develop their own styles, rather than simply being set to copy the work of the master…. Dürer enjoyed great rapport with the young men who were his first journeymen, and they remained his friends throughout their lives. At times, even after they had “graduated” from his workshop he loaned them his own drawings.

     Schäufelein is best known for the present work, which he created when he was barely twenty years of age. From the Getty web site for artists’ biographies:

Hans Schäufelein’s name literally means “little shovel”; his signature often combined a shovel with his monogram. From about 1503 he was in Albrecht Dürer’s Nuremberg workshop, entrusted with painting important projects during the master’s long absences. A highly prolific printmaker, Schäufelein made most of the 150 woodcuts for a 1507 collection of New Testament passages and texts [first edition of present work]. A born storyteller, he conceived his scenes as narratives, which he populated with well-observed details. Between 1508 and 1510, Schäufelein traveled to Austria, then returned to Augsburg, where he contributed to woodcut projects for Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, designed book illustrations for local publishers, painted, and designed stained glass. In 1515 he settled permanently in Nördlingen, where, as city painter, his focus shifted to painting. He painted portraits, provided a mural for the city hall, which is still in place, and designed woodcuts. He maintained contact with Nuremberg, where he met with Dürer and painted portraits and a town hall decoration. Schäufelein’s later prints were usually published in Nuremberg.

     Ulrich Pinder (active in the late 1400s and early 1500s) was city physician in Nuremberg and most of his writings were medical in nature, but he also was active in publishing and printing. Publisher Friedrich Peypus published humanistic works, such as that of Hroswitha of Gandersheim, the celebrated German Benedictine canoness, early dramatist, and the first woman historian of the German people. Publisher Peypus is better known in Americana circles as the publisher of the first printed depiction of an American city map (Temixtitan, or Tenochtitlán, i.e., Mexico City) which appeared in Cortés’ 1520 letter and is thought perhaps to be the engraving work of Dürer.




Auction 22 Abstracts

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