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Vlysses dass ist, Allerhand Begebenheiten, welche sich zugetragen in der Griechischen ruck-reiss oder heimbfarth Ulissis nach der Zerstörung der Statt Troja. Durch ... Sieur Nicola in 58 Figuren Künstlicher Masen Fürgebildt, welche zu sehen in dem Königlichen Hauss zu Fontaine Bleau ..
Augsburg: Johann Ulrich Stapf, 1678. Oblong folio (245 x 320 mm). 59 unsigned etched and engraved plates:title and 58 plates numbered in the plate 1-58, by B. Kilian after T. van Thulden, most with engraved verse captions in German, most platemarks 193/198 x 240/250 mm., plates 7 and 20 smaller, plates 8 and 24 larger with fore-edge folded. Title-leaf foxed and with large repaired tear, marginal dampstaining to first and last few leaves, occasional light marginal foxing. Later boards covered in 18th-century Dutch-gilt paper with birds and blossoms (spine abraded, paper of front cover and part of lower cover faded). Unidentified 19th-century ms. shelfmark on title.*** Only Edition of the first German version of an engraved picture-book of the Odyssey, reproducing the fresco suite of the Galerie d'Ulysse of Fontainebleau, painted in the mid-sixteenth century by Nicolò dell'Abate after Primaticcio, and later destroyed. These mannerist frescoes made the rounds of Europe via several print series, including the present very rare edition, apparently the earliest in the German-speaking lands. The 60 frescoes, considered Primaticcio's "crowning achievement," were painted by Nicolo dell'Abate after Primaticcio's designs and under his direction, from about 1541 to 1600. "Tragically, the entire gallery was destroyed in 1739 after years of neglect and decay. Preparatory drawings by Primaticcio, along with drawings and engravings [such as these] provide a good indication of the decorations' original appearance" (Fiorenza, 799-800). The Dutch painter and engraver Theodor van Thulden, a student of Rubens, drew pen-and-ink copies of the frescoes during a stay in Paris in the 1630s, and had the drawings engraved and published by Pierre Mariette in 1632 or 1633. The present very scarce suite by Bartholomäus Kilian II, third-generation member of the Augsburg engraving and publishing dynasty, consists of skillful reverse copies of the van Thulden engravings. Because the latter were themselves reverse images of van Thulden's drawings (a few of which are reproduced in Fiorenza's article), the present engravings, which are of equal quality to the French engravings, more accurately represent the lost frescoes. Plate 20, with a platemark which is half the size of the others, reproduces an unnumbered plate at the end of the van Thulden sequence, and plates 30 and 31 are in reverse order, but the copies are quite exact, so much so that in a moment of distraction Kilian managed to copy van Thulden's TVT monogram in one of the plates (no. 7): the signature is deleted in the plate but is still discernible. The rhyming couplets in German that serve as captions may have been the work of the publisher. Many of the etchings appear to be in an early state, before added engraving. All copies appear to be identical. These engravings convey well the epic sweep of the frescoes, filled with statuesque and muscular human and divine (and canine) bodies. Among the more touching engravings are those of Ulysses finding his old father (pl. 53), and of Ulysses and Penelope reunited, including a scene showing them talking in bed (plate 48), from Book 23 of the Odyssey. A painting of the latter scene by Primaticcio is in the Toledo Museum of Art (Fiorenza, passim). Later generations considered this series important, and it is an early example of the Augsburg production of picture series, many based on classical literature (cf. Appuhn-Radtke, p. 775*). A later copy of the cycle, with reduced and slightly modified copies of the engravings by Melchior Küsel, was published in 1681 and again in 1705. The work is surprisingly rare. OCLC locates six copies. I locate only two copies in US libraries (Duke and Univ. of Chicago). There are only a handful of copies of the related editions: of the van Thulden / Mariette editions OCLC locates copies at McGill, Carleton, Ontario, and Stanford (1633 edition) and Yale (1640 edition). Of the later Küsel suite there are copies of the 1681 edition at Harvard and Princeton, and of the 1705 edition at Yale, Chicago Public Library, and U. Illinois. Hollstein German XVI, p. 201, nos. 560-618. Augsburger Barock, no. 614.: Thieme-Becker 1:9-10 (dell' Abate); 20:288-89 (Kilian); 27:402-03 (Primaticcio); 33:110-11 (van Thulden). Not in VD-17. Cf. Sibylle Appuhn-Radtke, "Augsburger Buchillustration im 17. Jahrhundert," Augsburger Buchdruck und Verlagswesen Von den Anfangen bis zur Gegegenwart, ed. Helmut Gier & Johannes Janota (Wiesbaden 1997), 768-775; Giancarlo Fiorenza, "Penelope's Web: Francesco Primaticcio's Epic Revision at Fontainebleau," Renaissance Quarterly 59 (2006), no. 3:795-827. * "Dass Kilians Publikation ... noch im 18. Jahrhundert als bedeutend erachtet wurde, belegt ihre Erwähnung in Georg Christoph Kilians Biographie seines Vorfahren. Der `Ulysses' ist ein frühes Zeugnis für das Bestreben der Augsburger `Bilderfabrik,' klassiche Literatur in Form von Bilderserien anzubieten.".
      [Bookseller: Musinsky Rare Books, Inc.]
Last Found On: 2018-02-26           Check availability:      Biblio    

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