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Full text of "The dance of death : the full series of wood engravings reproduced in phototype from the proofs and original editions"

Digitized by tlie Internet Arcliive 

in 2008 witli funding from 

IVIicrosoft Corporation 



In ftp ://www.arcli ive.org/details/danceofdeatlifullOOIiolbuoft 



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30. 



THE 



DANCE OF DEATH 



HANS HOLBEIN 



THE 

DANCE OF DEATH 

BY 

HANS HOLBEIN 



THE FULL SERIES OF WOOD -ENGRAVINGS 

REPRODUCED IN PHOTOTYFE 

FROM THE PROOFS AND ORIGINAL EDITIONS 

EDITED BY 

DB F. LIPPMxVNN 

DIRECTOR OF THE ROYAL PRINT- ROOM BERLIN 



LONDON 

Bernard Quaritch 
r 

MDCCCLXXXVI 



7 



ii 



J- lie series of compositions by H.ms Holbein 
illustraling the power of death over mankind, 
commonly called The Dance of Death was 
never finished according to the Alaster's 
original plan and the engravings have never 
been published in a imiform fashion. Between 
the years 1^22 — i~;l:6 Hans Lut-elburger the 
imrivalled woodcutter, whose graver alone was 
able to do proper justice to Holbein's designs 
engraved a part of the woodcuts at Basle, 
one of them the Duchess, bears his monogram. 
It is now almost universally allowed that 
both the illustrations for the Old Testament 
as well as for the Dance of Death were 
executed by Holbein and Lut'^elburger for the 
Lyons printer Melchior Trechsel. The greater 



part of the former work and a considerable 
portion of the other was ready in 1^26, when 
Liit^elbiirger's death and Holbein's departure 
for England interrupted the undertaking. 
Forty one of the engravings of the Dance 
were then quite finished; in two or three more 
the wood-engraver's work was nearly done, 
the designs were drawn on the blocks in some 
of the others and Holbein probably left the 
sketches for the remaining two. 

The entire material, finished and imfnished, 
was given to Trechsel, when he 1^-26 laid claim 
to certain parts of Lut'^elburger's property; 
the blocks of the Dance of Death and all 
belonging to it being brought to Lyons. 
A number of proofs had however been taken 
from the blocks before they had left Basle, 
no doubt already during Lut-elburger's life- 
time. These proofs are easy to recogni^^e 
by the fact of their being printed on one 
side only, and by the clearness of the impres- 
sions. It seems that only a very limited 
number of such proofs were taken and that 
they were not intended for sale, nevertheless 



3 



two different issues or editions of the proofs 
can be distinguished , one edition of forty 
n'oodciils has German headi]igs in cursive 
type, while the other contains forty -one 
engravings with headings printed in Gothic 
letters; the additional cut is the Astro- 
nomer: "Der Sternsecher". Complete copies 
of the proofs with cursive headings are in the 
Museum at Basle and in the Paris Bibliotheque 
Nationale and incomplete sets are to be found 
in other public and private collections. But per- 
haps the finest copy, both as regards the quality 
of the impressions and their state of preservation, 
is the one we have used for our facsimiles in the 
Print Collection of the Royal Museum at Berlin. 
Of the edition with Gothic headings only one 
imperfect copy is known, in the Bibliotheque 
Nationale at Paris. 

The blocks remained in Trechsel's hands 
for inany years, before he seems to have 
thought of publishing thou. On the one hand 
political considerations may have prevented 
him from printing in such a very Catholic 
town as Lyons, a work in which the Roman 



4 



clergy and the King of France are seen in 
an unfavorable light. In the picture <f the 
Pope the Devil is sitting on the canopy over 
the throne, waiting for death to sei^e the Pon- 
tiff and eagerly watching for his soul. The 
Emperor, who has the well known features of 
Maxamilian is called away from his might and 
glory, as the highest temporal power on earth, 
a judge and rider of mankind , while the king, 
the exact likeness of Francis I, is taken from 
a simiptuous banquet, where death offers him 
a cup of rvine. These facts and the considera- 
tion that the painter, who was employed at the 
court of Henry VIII had a strong leaning 
towards the reformed faith were no doubt the 
cause that Holbein's name was omitted in all 
editions of the Dance of Death, and allusion is 
only made to Lut^^elburger, in the preface 
as an artist already deceased. Another reason 
for the tardy publication of the blocks may have 
been, that Trechsel wished to find an engraver 
capable of cutting the remaining woodcuts, con- 
formably with those engraved by Lut^elburger. 
The first book- edition of Holbein's Dance of 



Death, published by the brothers Melchior and 
Caspar Trechsel finally appeared in i^^H with a 
French text and the title: "Les Simulachres et 
historiees Faces de la Mort, aidant elegamment 
pourtraictes, que artificiellement imginees." 

Trechsel had succeeded in obtaining writers 
able to make an introduction and short French 
verses to go with the pictures without offen- 
ding the susceptibilities of a Catholic reader, 
or rendering the book suspicious. In this 
first edition he only published the 41 blocks 
engraved by Lut'ielburger. The next editions, 
which were issued, two in i45-, — «"'* "'''^^ '^ 
Latin, the other with a French text, — and the 
third, (the fourth of the Lyons series) in i^4s 
have also no further woodcuts, but the fifth 
edition, (the second published in 1545 "Lugduni 
subscuti colonieuse") has eight more scenes of 
the Dance, vi:^: the Soldier; the Gamester; the 
Drinker; the Idiot Fool; the Highwayman; 
the Blind Man; the Waggoner and the Outcast; 
besides two groups of Children. 

The later book-editions of the Dance of Death 
contain several g>-oups of Putti or children 



bearing aj'ius , drums and triimpcls, emblems 
of war, the chase and vineculture , in all 
six compositions. It is not at first easy 
to see the connection between these groups 
and the Dance of Death , though the fact of 
their being evidently designed by Holbein and 
having the same dimensions as the woodcuts 
of the Dance, that two at least seem to have 
been engraved by Lutr^elburger, (Nos. LII 
and LIII of our phototypes) some of them 
being found in all the editions published after 
the year is45, seems to prove that they were in- 
tended to belong to the work, perhaps as a 
joyous contrast to the tragical representations 
of destruction and death. The poets, who 
wrote the verses to Holbein's compositions, 
managed to bring these groups of children 
into a more or less strained connection with the 
weird figures of the Dance. Four of these 
groups of " Putti" are found in the edition 
of 1^4^ and in five other editions up to the 
year iS54- -^" ihe next edition, which appeared 
in 1^62 two more groups are added, vir^ : 
Nos. L VII and L VIII of our facsimiles, of 



the two latter No. LVII, desif^ued like the 
others by Holbein, is engraved by a very 
feeble hand. 

The above mentioned additional woodcuts 
of the Dance published after 1^45 ''^''O' con- 
siderably in treatment. The "Soldier" and the 
"Wai^goner" are engraved in so close an 
imitation of Lut^elburgers' style, that it seems 
not iynprobable, that he himself cut the greatest 
part of them, leaving only some details im- 
fnished. The technical treatment of the Blind 
Man and the Highwayman is much inferior to 
that of these plates and they are certainly not 
by Lut^elburger, whilst the Drinker and the 
Gamester are by quite another hand, still less 
able to do justice to the finish and expression 
of Holbein's design. 

The Bride and Bridegroom, two plates only 
published in the last edition of i^b'j, differ entirely 
in exection from the rest; Holbein's general 
outlines can still be distinguished, but he 
does not seem to have drawn the design 
himself on the blocks, or at most he could 
only have made a hasty sketch, whilst they 



8 



have cvidoitly been cut by an artist of the 
Lyons school, who tried to imitate Liil-jcl- 
burger's style. 



The aim of this little book is to give 
amateurs and the public an exact facsimile of 
the originals by means of a mechanical photo- 
type process, and to form a complete collection 
of Holbein's compositions of the Dance of 
Death , which are never all to be found to- 
gether in any one edition, except in the latest 
of is(^-- But this edition being verj- rare 
and therefore hardly accesible to amateurs 
and having besides the disadvantage of the 
blocks being so much irorn out and the ma- 
jority of the copies so badlj- printed, that 
they only give a faint idea tf the artistic 
value of the v'Iu)le, n'e may therefore hope, 
that our facsimiles will be welcome to the 
admirers of the great artist. The first part 
of this volume contains the reproductions of 
the forty pi'oofs willi tJw headings in cinsive 
type, the second part, consists of the ''Astro- 



9 

uoiner" and the n'oodaits added to the editions 
after iS-f-5- The six groups of children, 
n'hich are found in tJie editions from is45 to 
i^f'f2, form the appendix. 

The phototypes have been carefully executed 
in the Chalco graphical Deparlement <f the 
Imperial Press at Berlin. 



THE 



XXXX PROOFS 



Ber Bifchoff. 




VII 
THE BISHOP 



T)fr Thumherr* 




VIII 
THE CANON 



T>er Apt. 




IX 
THE ABBOT 



Cff VfAnherr. 




X 



THE PRIEST 



rDjy Vrediciint. 




XI 
THE PREACHER 




XII 

THE MONK 



Tier Artxjct* 




XIII 

thp: physician 



Der Kof^y* 




XIV 

THE EMPEROR 



Bey Kunig* 




XV 
THE KING 



Df)* Uertzog* 




XVI 
THE DUKE 



Der Groff. 




XVII 
THE COUNT 



D(r Kitter. 




XVIII 
THE KNIGHT 



^P^' Fiii.'ff^»'<« 




XIX 
THE NOBLEMAN 



T}rrndt(^yn. 




XX 

THE ALDERMAN 



DtV [chopffung ixUcr d'mp 






^52^ 













THE CREATION 



Adm Eui m vamdyl^. 




II 



ADAM AND EVE IN PARADISE 



Vl?trihmg Adc Euc. 




Ill 



THE EXPULSION FROM PARADISE 



Adm hmgt die trden . 




IV 



ADAM TILLING THE GROUND 



DerBdpfl* 




THE POPE 



T>er Cdrdml 




VI 

THE CARDINxVL 



Dfr Kichter. 




XXI 
THE JUDGE 



Der Tnrflirdch. 




XXII 
THE ADVOCATE 



Der Rych mitn. 




XXIII 

THE RICH MAN 



T>er K<iujfmc(n. 




XXIV 
THE MERCHANT 



Dw Krdmcr. 




XXV 

THE PEDLER 



Ber Schijfmnn. 




XXVI 
THE MARINER 



Tier Ac^ermiin. 




XXVII 
THE PLOUGHMAN 



Tier Alt man. 




XXVIII 
THE OLD MAN 



i:>ieKeyferinn^ 




XXIX 

THE EMPRESS 



Die Ktiniginn, 




XXX 

THE QUEEN 



DlcKertzogimt. 




XXXI 

THE DUCHESS 



JDieGreffmtu 




XXXII 
THE COUNTESS 



Die "^delfrdm. 




XXXIII 
THE NOBLE LADY 



T)ie Aptil^m. 




XXXIV 
THE ABBESS 



Die MM«Hf. 



RnT 




XXXV 

THE NUN 



I^dJ^Altweyh* 




XXXVI 

THE OLD WOMAN 



B^y? Tun^^int. 




XXXVII 
THE YOUNG CHILD 



GeheynaUermcnfchtn* 




XXXVIII 
THE END OF MANKIND 



Djj?:ij«g/?gmV^f. 




XXXIX 
THE LAST JUDGEMENT 



T^lew<ip(ndel?thotf^. 




XL 



THE ESCUTCHEON OF DEATH 



ADDITIONAL WOODCUTS 



FROM THE EDITIONvS 



PUBLISHED 



BETWEEN 1538 AND I 5 6 2 




XLI 

THE ASTRONOMER 
1538 




XLII 

THE SOLDIER 

1545 




XLIII 
THE GAMESTER 

1545 




XLIV 
THE DRINKER 

1545 




XLV 
THE IDIOT FOOL 

1545 




XLVI 

THE HIGHWAYMAN 

1545 




XL VII 

THE BLIND MAN 

1545 




XLVIII 

THE WAGGONER 

1545 




XLIX 
THE OUTCAST 

1545 




THE BRIDE 
1562 




LI 

THE BRIDEGROOM 

1562 



APPENDIX 

THE 

GROUPS OF CHILDREN 

FROM THE EDITIONS 

PUBLISHED 

BETWEEN 1545 AND 1562 




LII 




LIII 




LIV 




LV 




LVI 




LVII 




LVIII 



INDEX 



/ The Creation 
II AdiVJi and Eve in Paradise 

III The Expulsion from Paradise 

IV Adam tilling the ground 
V The Pope 

VI The Cardinal 
VII The Bishop 
VIII The Canon 
IX The Abbot 
X The Priest 
XI The Preacher 
XII The Monk 

XIII The Physician 

XIV The Emperor 
XV The King 

XVI The Duke 

XVII The Count 

XVIII The Knight 



XIX 


The Nobleman 


XX 


The Alderman 


XXI 


The Judge 


XXII 


The Advocate 


XXIII 


The Rich Man 


XXIV 


The Merchant 


XXV 


The Pedler 


XXVI 


The Mariner 


XXVII 


The Ploughman 


XXVIII 


The Old Man 


XXIX 


The Empress 


XXX 


The Queen 


XXXI 


The Duchess 


XXXII 


The Countess 


XXXIII 


The Noble Lady 


XXXIV 


The Abbess 


XXXV 


The Nun 


XXX VI 


The Old Woman 


XXXVII 


The Young Child 


XXXVIII 


The End of Mankind 


XXXIX 


The Last Judgement 


XL 


The Escutcheon of Death 


XLI 


The Astronoiner 


XLII 


The Soldier 



XLIII 


The Gamester 


XLIV 


The Drinker 


XLV 


The Idiot Fool 


XL VI 


The Highwayman 


XL VII 


The Blind Man 


XL VIII 


The Waggoner 


XLIX 


The Outcast 


L 


The Bride 


LI 


The Bridegroom 


LII-LVIII 


Groups of Children 



tmmmmmmmmmm'^immefmimm* I mm > ' •%. 




L>_ 



lUlDING ^^ 



iOV/9, 1981 



PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE 
CARDS OR SLIPS FROM THIS POCKET 

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO LIBRARY 



Holbein, Hans 


5 the 


Younger 


(1^7-15+3) 








The dance 


of death; 


ed. 


Lippmann