680J Ringmann, Matthais  (1482–1511) Or Geiler von Kaisersberg (1445-1510) & woodcuts by Urs Graff (1485-1529) and Johann Wechtlin (1480-15??).

Passio domini nostri Jesu Christi ex euangelistarum textu & [quam] accuratissime deprompta additis sanctissimis exquisitissimis q[uam] figuris. HEVS EME LECTOR Nam & lachrymas (nisi lapideus sueris) ista tibi excutient & sanctiorem vitam protinus inspirabunt  Ri(n)gmannus  Philesius ad lect.

Straßburg: Knobloüchus, 1507                       $25,000

A close-up of a paper

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Folio 30 x 22 cm. signatures: A-E6.  Second edition. Bound in early 20th century blue morroco .These beautiful woodcuts have some early color added.

VERY RARE: according to American Book Prices Current, no copies of the first edition have been sold at auction in at least fifty years.

The text is now attributed to  Johannes Geiler von Kaisersberg (cf. L.Dacheux, “Les Plus anciens écrits de Geiler de Kaysersberg”.)  Matthias Ringmann (1482–1511), also known as Philesius Vogesigena was an Alsatian German humanist scholar and cosmographer. Along with cartographer Martin Waldseemüller, he is credited with the first documented usage of the word America, on the 1507 map Universalis Cosmographia in honour of the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci.  Ringmann studied in Heidelberg and Paris; from 1500 in Strasbourg and Colmar, where he became director of the Ecole de S Martin; translated Vespucci’s ‘New World’ letter into German and edited various books. “According to this history he was closely connected with those humanists of Strasburg of whom the leader was the well-known Jacob of Wimpheling (1450-1528), called “the educator of Germany”.

Geiler von Kaisersberg, like Wimpheling, a secular priest; both fought the ecclesiastical abuses of the age, but not in the spirit of Luther and his adherents. They looked, instead, for salvation and preservation only in the restoration of Christian morals in Church and State through the faithful maintenance of the doctrines of the Church. The scene of Wimpheling’s fruitful labours was the school, that of Geiler’s the pulpit.” (C.E.)

EXCEEDINGLY RARE EDITION of Matthias Ringmann’s commentaries on the Passion of Christ, illustrated with twenty-six full page woodcuts by Urs Graf. “According to Richard Muther, the first series of woodcuts designed and cut by Graf, a series that he started in 1503 and refined over the three years it took him to find a publisher. In the edition, printed by Johann Knobloch in Strassburg, probably in 1506, the cut representing the Resurrection and the Visit to the Tomb is repeated. The final woodcut, in the edition offered here is the Resurrection by Johann Wechtlin.

(Daniel De Simone, editor, A Heavenly Craft: The Woodcut in Early Printed Books, New York, 2004, p. 144). This series of woodcuts was used again by Knobloch in another Latin edition published in 1508 and in two German-language editions of 1507 and 1509. Matthias Hupfuff and Johann Grüninger used them again in 1513, 1514 and 1515 and Antoine Vérard copied twenty-one of them for a 1512 edition of the passion.  

Proctor 10057-10058; Adams P1243 – M. C. Oldenbourg S; VD 16 ZV 18610; C.G.A. Schmidt, Répertoire bibliographique strasbourgeois jusque vers 1530, v.7. Kristeller 337; Major & Gradmann pp.6 and 38; Muther pp.190-193; cf. Rosenwald 602 for 1506 edition.;

An open book with a drawing on it

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25 full page

Urs Graf, (born c. 1485, Solothurn, Switz.—died 1527, Basel), Swiss draftsman, engraver, and goldsmith, known for his drawings, woodcuts, and etchings.

The son of a goldsmith, Hugo Graf, he probably studied first under his father and later at Basel, following the style of Albrecht Dürer and of Dürer’s assistant, the German painter and draftsman Hans Baldung-Grien. Settling in Basel in 1509, Graf executed his masterpiece as a goldsmith, a reliquary of St. Bernard for the monastery of St. Urban in 1514, subsequently lost. Graf’s surviving works include 100 woodcuts, a number of engravings, etchings, and nielli (engravings inlaid with niello, a silver sulfide or mixture of sulfides), and 200 drawings, most of them dated and signed with his monogram.

Graf often accompanied Swiss mercenaries in their military adventures, and these soldiers form the main subject of his work. Graf’s drawing style is bold, energetic, and often highly ornamental. His etching “Woman Bathing Her Feet” (1513) is one of the earliest known dated etchings. This book with 24 woodcuts by Graf predates this by six years.