Catalog Archive
Auction 100, Lot 525

"[Dance of the Dead]", Schedel, Hartmann

Subject: Incunabula

Period: 1493 (published)

Publication: Nuremberg Chronicle

Color: Black & White

9 x 7.5 inches
22.9 x 19.1 cm
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Hartmann Schedel's Nuremberg Chronicle (Liber Chronicarum) was published in two editions, Latin and German, both in 1493, appearing in print just before Christopher Columbus' discoveries completely re-shaped the European view of the World. This splendid work presented the history of the world in a pictorial encyclopedia with approximately 285 pages of text and 1,800 woodcut illustrations. Among these illustrations are views of towns and cities throughout Europe and the Near East. The majority of these views are entirely imaginary. In fact, 49 of the views are actually printed from the same group of 14 woodblocks. There are also 30 double-page views of cities with more realistic images. In addition to the topographical images, there are an enormous number of other subjects, including diagrams of the Creation, comets, family trees, portraits & biblical scenes. The text was compiled and edited by Hartmann Schedel, printed by Anton Koberger, with illustrations designed by Michael Wohlgemuth and Willem Pleydenwurff, who cut the woodblocks, probably with the assistance of their apprentice, Albrecht Durer.

This is the famous, macabre scene from Schedel's description of the Seventh Age (yet to come), or the reign of the Anti-Christ. The music for the frenzied dance of skeletons is provided by a horn player draped in a shroud. A skeleton rises from a grave, and the partially decomposed individual on the right joins the dance with his intestines casually draped over his arm. From a German edition.


Condition: B

Top of leaf trimmed into heading by binder. Light foxing with a wormhole in text.

Estimate: $800 - $900

Sold for: $800

Closed on 9/12/2002