Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Printer (1568)

by Stephen J. Gertz

Der Buchdrucker (The Printer).
From the "Ständebuch" (Book of Trades).
Frankfurt am Main, 1568.

Commonly known as the Ständebuch (Book of Trades), this, the first Latin edition of Panoplia, contains 132 woodcuts by Jost Amman, eighteen more than the first German edition of the same year.

The work is as much a social history as anything else. Social status plays a role but the primary emphasis is in praise of the handwork of the artisan class.

"In gathering, amending and amplifying a diffuse conglomeration of images Amman established a completely objective mode of picturing craft genre, free of contextual purpose other than the work itself. This is in marked contrast to both earlier religious and secular uses of genre scenes, and to contemporary low-life scenes, which, despite their probable antique origins, remained grotesque mimics of a limited range of social behavior. Amman’s pictures were intended as illustration for a curious public, as an informative record of local customs, and as a visual adjunct to a text which primarily encouraged the Protestant work ethic. They were not caricatures or vulgarizations, but semi-scientific documentation combining several old and serious methods of viewing daily labor. They thus isolated the work scene as autonomous branch of art, and gave it a new purpose as an independent subject. They act as a turning point between the religious genre of Peter Aertsen, or the low-life scenes of the Flemish and Italian satiric painters and popular printmakers, and the sober, realistic genre painting of the Carracci and their followers" (Rifkin, B.A. Introduction to the Dover Edition, New York, 1973, p. xxxix).

SCHOPPER, Hartmann (1542-1595) and Jost Amman (1539-1591). Panoplia. Omnium illiberalium mechanicarum aut sedentariarum artium genera continens. Frankfort  am Main: (George Rab for Sigmund Feyerabend), 1568.

First edition in Latin. Octavo. 148 unnumbered leaves 132 woodcuts.

Adams S-703. Colas I, p. 35. Becker 13b.

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