Catalog Archive
Auction 132, Lot 711

"XXI [and] XXII [Biblical Story of Abraham]", Schedel, Hartmann

Subject: Incunabula, Religion

Period: 1493 (published)

Publication: Liber Chronicarum

Color: Black & White

11 x 16 inches
27.9 x 40.6 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 double leaf is a fine example of the lavish illustrations that make the Chronicle such an enduring and important work. The first sheet features the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah with Lot's wife turned to a pillar of salt as she gazed back on the burning cities. The design flows into the interior pages with a vine connecting a large portrait of Abraham with his descendants and other illustrations of his life. Finally on the last page, an angel prevents Abraham from sacrificing his son Isaac.


Condition: B+

There are a few light stains and an old paper repair on binding joint.

Estimate: $475 - $550


Closed on 6/2/2010