Virgil Solis b. 1514, d. 1562 Nuremberg, Germany
With an output of over 2,000 prints and drawings, Virgil Solis was one of Nuremberg’s most prolific printmakers and book illustrators. His origins and training are unclear, though his father may have been a painter. He became a master in 1539 and often signed himself as a painter, but no evidence of that career exists.
Solis aimed to produce popular, commercially successful prints on many subjects and regularly borrowed figures and compositions from German and Italian masters. His early drawing style employed strong outlines and simple hatching. He made over two hundred woodcuts illustrating biblical stories plus decorative elements, published in eleven editions between 1562 (see the book listed below) and 1606.
Solis also disseminated contemporary ornamental forms to artisans, who often used his prints as models for furniture decoration, architectural friezes, pitchers, bowls, sword scabbards, and jewelry. His mixtures of animal and vegetable forms on drinking vessel designs helped to break many goldsmiths’ strict adherence to classicalmotifs. Solis’s monogram signature came to mean only that prints originated in his workshop, rather than identifying his own designs. Later owners printed his woodblocks and plates well into the 1650s. [http://www.getty.edu/art/gettyguide/artMakerDetails?maker=259&page=1]
148g Solis, Virgil. 1514-1562
Biblische Figuren deß Alten (und Newen) Testaments : gantz künstlich gerissen
Frankfurt am Main; Durch Johannem Wolffium,,1565 $SOLD
Oblong Quarto, 18 x 24 cm. A-M4 N6 a-p4. There are woodcuts printed one to a page, with Latin captions above and German legends below each cut.There are 102 plates for the Old Testament and 116 For the New Testament. This copy is bound in contemporary vellum binding with a stamped coat of arms on the front board.
The inclusion of his images in the bible was a common occurance. Images would often be included in bibles to help those that were illiterate ‘read’ through the stories of the bible. The images were often easily recognizable scenes so the lay people who could not read Latin, before the translations were common, were able to know what the writing was about without needing to read the words. But this is by no means a ‘cheap’ or ‘common” book, it is a lavish artistic production.