IMAGES OF THE OLD TESTAMENT
Price: 32,500.00 USD
(Lyon: Jean Frellon, 1549), VERY RARE FIRST ENGLISH LANGUAGE EDITION OF HOLBEIN'S REVERED BIBLE ILLUSTRATIONS. Both the English and French text are offered in this volume. Hans Holbein the Younger (1497-1543) is now best known as portrait painter of some of the most famous figures of Renaissance Europe, including Erasmus, Thomas More, and King Henry VIII of England. But as a young artist in his native Basel, Holbein also worked as an illustrator, producing drawings that would be reproduced in woodcuts and included in printed books. Holbein's most famous illustrations are his Dance of Death series. The drawings that make up The Images of the Old Testament (better known by its Latin title Icones Historiarum Veteris Testamenti) were likely done at about the same time as the Dance of Death, probably between 1523 and 1526. The first four illustrations in the Icones are taken from the Dance of Death series. The depict the creation of Adam and Eve and their fall and expulsion from the Garden of Eden, with Death personified as a skeletal figure. The rest of the illustrations demonstrate Holbein's movement toward increasingly complex spatial structure in his drawings. The late art historian Arthur M. Hind wrote that, "Holbein's Images of the Old Testament, as they were called in the English edition of 1549, are the most wonderful series of illustration to the Bible in existence. Even outside the more limited sphere of book illustration they have practically no rivals, except the scriptural printes of Dürer and Rembrandt. Inspiration is so much more often found in separate works than in a series, that it is all the more remarkable to see so high a level of artistic power preserved throughout the ninety-one uniform cuts that make up Holbein's Old Testament." The Very Rare First English Edition of Holbein's Bible Illustrations. Illustrated with 94 woodcut illustrations of Old Testament scenes and 4 portrait medallions of the Evangelists all after Holbein; woodcut Frllon device on title and otherwise blank last leaf. 4to, bound in early 19th century calf, rebacked retaining the original backstrip. A very rare survival, some expected age and some occasional light mellowing or browning. A complete copy.