Lot Content

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
FREITAG, Arnold (1560-1614).  Mythologia ethica. Antwerp:  Plantin, 1579.
FREITAG, Arnold (1560-1614). Mythologia ethica. Antwerp: Plantin, 1579.

Details
FREITAG, Arnold (1560-1614). Mythologia ethica. Antwerp: Plantin, 1579.

4o (198 x 155 mm). Etched title and 124 etched emblem plates by Marcus Gheeraerts, the elder. (Single wormhole affecting some fore-margins, a few minor stains.) Modern calf antique. Provenance: acquired from H.M. Fletcher, 1983.

FIRST LATIN EDITION, and the third appearance of these highly important Aesop illustrations. The illustrations were originally issued in Edward de Dene's De warachtighe fabulen der dieren published in Bruges in 1567 (no copy known), which included 107 fable illustrations accompanying Flemish verse written by his friend de Dene. The plates passed into the possession of Philip Galle at Antwerp for whom the next two editions were printed, a French version in 1578 by Gerard Smits with 18 new plates, and in 1579 by Plantin for this Latin version.

Gheeraerts was a keen innovator and experimented with etching at a time when woodcut and engraving were dominant techniques. His style resembles that of Pieter Bruegel the Elder, and he was particularly famous as a draughtsman of birds and animals. Gheeraerts based most of his motifs on woodcuts by Virgil Solis and Bernard Salomon but gave his subjects greater naturalism. The title-page of this edition is likely based on a drawing by Gheeraerts. The copperplates were used in books well into the 18th Century and the fable series was copied by artists all over Europe. Landwehr 239 (calling for title and 125 plates); Praz, p. 62 ("scarce"; collates as here).

More from The Collection of Arthur & Charlotte Vershbow Part Three: The Baroque and Rococo Periods

View All
View All