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Architectura und Ausstheilung der V Seuln - Architectur von Portalen unnd Thürgerichten mancherley arten Das Annder Buch
[Vol. 1]: Stuttgart: s.n., 1593; [Vol. 2]: Strassburg: heirs of Bernhardt Tobin, 1594. Two vols. in one, folio (360 x 278 mm). Vol. I: Etched title in cartouches within an architectural and allegorical setting, 9 leaves letterpress text, comprising 2-page dedication to Conrad Schlossberger, 1-page note to the reader (Bericht an den Leser), 1-page table of architectural terms keyed to first plate, 6 explanatory text leaves (irregularly foliated, printed on rectos and versos), and colophon leaf; 38 etched plates, numbered 1-35 and 38-40 (36 and 37 were never issued), plate of the Tuscan order [pl. 2] with repeated impression on verso. Vol. II: Etched title printed in red ink in cartouches within an architectural and allegorical setting (differing from vol. 1), 3 leaves letterpress consisting of 1-page dedication to Ernst Friedrich, Margrave of Baden-Hachberg, 1-page note to the reader, 1-page explanation of proportion for portals, with half-page etching numbered 1, and colophon leaf; 57 etched plates numbered 2-58, plates 13, 28, 38 and 50 being reimpressions of the "orders" plates in vol. I (there with plate numbers 5, 13, 19 and 26), while plate 2, of the Tuscan order, is a new etching reproducing (and improving upon) the same design as pl. 2 in vol. I. Watermarks: vol. I none visible, vol. II plates on thinner paper watermarked with gothic letter P (details on request). First title-leaf with marginal staining and a few short marginal tears, occasional marginal soiling, fore-margin of plate 7 in vol. I (2nd Doric) torn away grazing image border, marginal tears to pl. 30-33 and 37 in vol. II, that to pl. 33 just entering image; tiny filled hole in plate II:50, small paper flaw (fold) in pl. II:48. Bound with five blank leaves at end, these covered with 18th-century pencil drawings including cartouches, a portrait, a cavalry officer, etc. and some ms. notes, in a contemporary German laced-case binding of silver-gilt tooled parchment over thin boards, sewn on five sewing supports, covers with central silver-blocked arabesque cartouche within concentric fillet frames, outer border of stylized leafy roll, inner interlock roll border with flowering plant tools at corners, a repeated fleuron in each spine compartment, slits for two fore-edge ties (ties lacking), edges stained red, red paper index tab to vol. 2; binding stained and soiled, covers somewhat bowed, corners bumped. Provenance: one or two early marginal notes, small early ink doodle on vol. I title; Franciscus Xaverius Scharz (engraved armorial bookplate); Joseph Hennston (1814 inscription); Arthur & Charlotte Vershbow.*** first edition, first issue, with the text in German, a complete copy, in its original binding, of Books I and II of Dietterlin's exuberant, fantastical, at times sinister, and highly influential visual exposition of architecture and ornament. Wendel Dietterlin was well known to his contemporaries as a painter and muralist. His grandest commission, from Conrad Schlossberger, intendant to Duke Louis of Württemberg and the dedicatee of the present first volume, was for the decoration of the ducal pleasure villa (the Neues Lusthaus). Executed between 1590 and 1593, his vast murals of the Creation and Last Judgement, painted on the ceiling and walls of the great hall, were sadly demolished in the 18th century. Most of Dietterlin's other paintings met the same fate, and only one of his easel paintings is extant (in the Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe). His main surviving oeuvre is therefore this collection of etchings of architecture and ornament, published over six years. While the first volume nominally surveys the five classical orders (Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, Tuscan and Composite), and the second volume is devoted to doorways and portals, Dietterlin ranges far beyond architecture and proportion to embrace the entire universe of ornament, successfully and inimitably combining Gothic and Renaissance elements in dizzying assemblages of scrollwork, strapwork, grotesque figures, and allegorical motifs whose meanings were obvious to his contemporaries. In both volumes Dietterlin states that his work is intended for young artists. In his preface to the reader, he explains rather breathlessly that he wishes to put at the disposal of young painters, stoneworkers, cabinetmakers, stone carvers and other artists and artisans, who lack access or understanding of Vitruvius and other architectural treatises, a comprehensive visual supply of models of each of the five orders with corresponding ornamentation. For Dietterlin's conception of the five orders embraced more than architecture: influenced by Serlio and by Hans Blum (whose column book was first published in Latin in 1550), Dietterlin "conceives the column orders as little more than thematic categories or divisions into which fall a range of original decorative forms" (Millard Collection III, p. 25), from the most rustic to the most elegant. Dietterlin's sophisticated decorative repertory, elements of which he borrowed from Androuet du Cerceau, may not have been of much use for students: while his extravagant horreur du vide was in keeping with contemporary northern European aesthetic taste, Dietterlin's application of the principles of architecture to design is delightfully and sometimes nightmarishly idiosyncratic. These 99 etchings printed from 94 plates depict columns, pediments, cartouches, doorways and gateways, adorned or morphing into an array of human, zoomorphic and grotesque figures. The three later volumes, published in Nuremberg in 1498 along with restrikes of the plates from volumes I and II, extended the fantastical element into perspective itself, prefiguring the "impossible realities" of M. C. Escher. While these first volumes exhibit a gentler mood, the "terror and dementia ... sometimes evoked by these images" (Millard Collection III, p. 28) surfaces in Volume II, notably in the final plate, an ominous memento mori showing a portal overrun with dead animals, prone putti, a carcass, vultures, devils, and other sinister figures, with a pile of skulls inside the doorway and a tiny tombstone visible in the distance. In spite of their iconographic flights of fancy, Dietterlin's books seem to have been heavily used by artists and even a few architects. The Architectura helped disseminate Renaissance decorative forms in Germany, and Dietterlin's exaggerated Mannerist style influenced other pattern book designers as well as artisans and craftsmen throughout Northern Europe, even as far afield as England (cf. Summerson, Architecture in Britain 1530 to 1830, pp. 54 & 73). No doubt precisely because of their popularity, unsophisticated sets of even the 1598 edition are scarce, while complete copies of this first edition are few and far between. (These volumes were reprinted with the text in Latin by Jobin in 1594-1595; that edition is also exceedingly rare.) OCLC erroneously lists two American instututions holding copies of the first German edition (Columbia and the Canadian Centre for Architecture): in fact both holdings are of the Latin edition of 1594/95, and Columbia has volume 1 only of this first edition. ABPC lists no copy of either the German or Latin editions in Anglo-American auctions for the past 35 or more years, nor do we locate any other complete copies in the trade in the past half-century (a copy offered by Weinreb in 1964, in later sheep, lacked a text leaf). this large, unrestored copy in its contemporary german binding is a great rarity. VD16 D-1691; Berlin Katalog 1941; Brunet II, 706; Schlosser Magnino, pp. 412, 421; Fowler 104 (second volume only). Cf. Neue Deutsche Biographie 3:702; Thieme Becker 9:269-71; H. F. Malgrave, introduction, Millard Collection III: Northern European Books, pp. 25-28); Architectural Theory from the Renaissance to the Present (2011) 2:520-29 ("this is the earliest etched work of any size to appear prior to Jacques Callot").
      [Bookseller: Musinsky Rare Books, Inc.]
Last Found On: 2017-06-22           Check availability:      IOBABooks    

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