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    Sale 2059

    Fine Printed Books and Manuscripts Including Americana

    5 December 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 8

    DÜRER, Albrecht. De symmetria partium in rectis formis humanorum corporum, libri in latinum conversi. Translated by Joachim Camerarius. Nuremberg: in the house of Dürer's widow, 1532. [With:] De varietate figurarum et flexuris partium ac gestib. imaginum libri duo, qui priorib. de symmetria quondam editis, nunc primum in latinum conversi accesserunt. Translated by Joachim Camerarius (1500-1574). Nuremberg: Hieronymus Formschneyder, 1534.

    Price Realised  

    DÜRER, Albrecht. De symmetria partium in rectis formis humanorum corporum, libri in latinum conversi. Translated by Joachim Camerarius. Nuremberg: in the house of Dürer's widow, 1532. [With:] De varietate figurarum et flexuris partium ac gestib. imaginum libri duo, qui priorib. de symmetria quondam editis, nunc primum in latinum conversi accesserunt. Translated by Joachim Camerarius (1500-1574). Nuremberg: Hieronymus Formschneyder, 1534.

    2 volumes, 2o (304 x 202 mm). Dürer's woodcut monogram on title of first volume, 145 full-length outline woodcut illustrations (4 folding) of human figures and human figures in motion, many diagrams of heads and other illustrations. (Some light staining.) Late 19th-century half sprinkled half calf and paper covered boards, spines in five compartments second with gilt lettered red morocco labels. Provenance: John Murray (?) presentation inscription by the translators son, Joachim Camerarius (1534-1598 on title: "Cl[arissimo] V[iro] D[omino] Jacobo Moravio Joachimus J[ohannis] F[ilius] Camerarius D[edit]").

    FIRST LATIN EDITION, in two parts, of Vier Bücher von menschlicher Proportion published 1528 in German. Unlike his Italian contemporary, Leonardo da Vinci, who published nothing, Dürer lived and worked in the world of printing and engraving. Dürer's treatise on human proportion was the earliest of the three theoretical works written in his later years. Dürer began formulating mathematical rules for the proportions of the human form soon after his first trip to Venice in 1494-5. For his mathematical formulations he drew upon the works of antiquity as well as the Italian rediscoveries; as for his other theoretical works, his goal was to establish a scientific basis for aesthetics and to provide practical guidelines for draftsmanship. "The book is the synthesis of Dürer's solutions to his self-imposed formal problems; in it he sets forth his formal aesthetic... Dürer's aesthetic rules are based firmly in the laws of optics--indeed, he even designed special mechanical instruments to aid in the measurement of human form. He used the height of the human body as the basic unit of measurement..." (DSB). Book IV is of the greatest interest as it presents for the first time many "new, difficult, and intricate considerations of descriptive spatial geometry... Dürer's chief accomplishment as outlined in the Four Books is that in rendering figures...he first solved the problem of establishing a canon, then considered the transformation of forms within that canon... In so doing he considered the spatial relations of form and the motions of form within space" (DSB). CAMERIUS FAMILY COPY, with presentation insription by the translators son on title, and ink marginalia at the beginning of the first volume. Camerarius' translation popularised the fame of the book throughout Europe. "Without Camerarius' translation, Dürer's writings would not have achieved exceptional dissamination in Europe. Without Camerarius translation, Michelangelo would never have seen Dürer's theory of proportion" (translated from the Dürer Katalog, Nuremberg, 1971). Adams D-1044 and D-1049; Fairfax Murray German Books 152 and 153. (2)


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