BURGKMAIR, Hans and Hans WEIDITZ. Officia. By Marcus Tullius Cicero. , XCI ff. Collation: [*]8 A-O6 P8 (lacking blank leaf P8). Illustrated with a large woodcut on title of Caesar enthroned and surrounded by eight counsellors, with Cicero shown writing in the background (repeated on G2 verso), large woodcut portrait of Johann von Freiherr Schwarzenberg by Hans Weiditz after Albrecht Dürer on verso of title, the head within a circle surrounded by sixteen coats-of-arms, and 101 woodcut illustrations in the text by Hans Weiditz and Hans Burgkmair. Decorative woodcut tailpieces, decorative and historiated woodcut initials. Folio, 298 x 200 mm, bound in contemporary German blind-tooled calf, upper cover bearing armorial device of the Benedictine Abbey of Lambach (Upper Austria), two catches on upper cover, one clasp lacking. Augsburg: Heinrich Steiner, 1537.
A German Renaissance woodcut book of supreme elegance. Third edition of the first German translation of De officiis (first published by Heinrich Steiner 16 February 1531), containing 103 woodcuts, including one of the earliest illustrations of a Conjurer. The German Cicero is considered one of the masterpieces of sixteenth-century woodcut art.
According to Dodgson, there are "one hundred cuts by Hans Weiditz, in addition to borders and initials. Thirty-three of these belong to [Steiner's] Petrarch set, while the remaining sixty-seven (from sixty-four blocks, three of which are used twice) were designed for the Cicero. One cut (fol. LXXIX) is by Hans Burgkmair; two (50, 71 v.) are anonymous" (Dodgson II, p. 143).
Of remarkable interest is the profusion of woodcuts depicting daily life in early sixteenth-century Germany. The subjects include a conjurer performing sleight-of-hand tricks at a table; a calculating board; breaking on the wheel; an astrolabe and hornbooks; a dancing bear; a pendulum clock; a painting studio; beehives; a hand press; a child's walker, or perambulator; phlebotomy; a surgical amputation; a spider's web; card playing; a pilgrim; a notary's office; draper's and armourer's shops; 'Poverty,' 'Disease,' 'Sensuality' and 'Death' dragging a knight down from a ladder reaching to heaven, etc. There is much in these extraordinary woodcuts that offer particular interest for Renaissance historians; the myriad details of contemporary life, costume and interior architectural settings are often exceptional. Sympathetically rebacked; unobtrusive marginal wormholes. Overall, an excellent copy. Of this edition only two copies are recorded in institutional collections worldwide: Wellcome Institute (London) and Nieder-sachsische Staats- und Univ. Bibliothek.
PROVENANCE: Benedictine Abbey of Lambach (Upper Austria) with ex-libris stamps and armorial device on upper cover.
Fairfax Murray German, 118 (the 1531 edition). STC German, p. 209. Worstbrock 141. Dodgson II, 143 (12). Graesse II, 180. Cf. Rosenwald 659.
Item nr. 166934