DÜRER, Albrecht. 1471-1528.  Underweysung der messung, mit dem zirckel unn richtscheyt in Linien ebnen unnd gantzen corporen. Nuremberg: [Hieronymus Andreas Formschneider], 1525.
Lot 108
DÜRER, Albrecht. 1471-1528.
Underweysung der messung, mit dem zirckel unn richtscheyt in Linien ebnen unnd gantzen corporen. Nuremberg: [Hieronymus Andreas Formschneider], 1525.
Sold for US$ 175,000 inc. premium

Lot Details
DÜRER, Albrecht. 1471-1528.  Underweysung der messung, mit dem zirckel unn richtscheyt in Linien ebnen unnd gantzen corporen. Nuremberg: [Hieronymus Andreas Formschneider], 1525. DÜRER, Albrecht. 1471-1528.  Underweysung der messung, mit dem zirckel unn richtscheyt in Linien ebnen unnd gantzen corporen. Nuremberg: [Hieronymus Andreas Formschneider], 1525. DÜRER, Albrecht. 1471-1528.  Underweysung der messung, mit dem zirckel unn richtscheyt in Linien ebnen unnd gantzen corporen. Nuremberg: [Hieronymus Andreas Formschneider], 1525. DÜRER, Albrecht. 1471-1528.  Underweysung der messung, mit dem zirckel unn richtscheyt in Linien ebnen unnd gantzen corporen. Nuremberg: [Hieronymus Andreas Formschneider], 1525.
DÜRER, Albrecht. 1471-1528.
Underweysung der messung, mit dem zirckel unn richtscheyt in Linien ebnen unnd gantzen corporen. Nuremberg: [Hieronymus Andreas Formschneider], 1525.
3 works bound in one volume, folio (307 x 204 mm). A-N6 O-Q4. 89 leaves (of 90 without final blank). Numerous woodcuts of geometrical diagrams and architectural renderings, two, on P4v and Q1r, extended with pasted-in folding slips to demonstrate a point in perspective, two figures on C5v and K1r printed on pasted-in cancel slips correcting the original figures; two half-page woodcuts showing artists using Dürer's drafting apparatus for drawing in perspective, the second with Dürer's monogram and dated 1525 (as are 2 of the triumphal column cuts); roman and gothic alphabets. Contemporary blind tooled vellum over pasteboards, the covers ruled with several fillets flanking a medallion roll and a roll-tool of saints, spine ink lettered some rubbing and light wear, lacks ties. Some minor marginal worming to first 40 leaves, minor mostly marginal staining.
Provenance: B. Praun, 1554 (ownership inscription on title); Cherubim M. Mayrhoffer, 1761 (gift inscription); Charles Robert Ashbee (1863-1942) English architect and designer (red morocco bookplate).

FIRST EDITION of one of the earliest mathematical works published in German. "Dürer's work first presented to northern Europe the completely new attitude to artistic creation which had crystallized in Italy during the Renaissance ... The Renaissance established a completely different aesthetic theory: the work of art as a representation of a natural object. The connection of the beautiful with the natural, of the work of art with what is correct (i.e. mathematical) was a typical concept of the Renaissance. In the illustration of these principles lies the great historical importance of Dürer's theoretical writings ... they were the foundation of accepted aesthetic dogma until the nineteenth century" (PMM). "Except for the Geometria Deutsch (c.1486-1487), a book of arithmetical rules for builders which Dürer knew and used, the Underweysung der messung is the first mathematics book in German. With its publication Dürer could claim a place in the front ranks of Renaissance mathematicians" (DSB). Berlin Kat 4607; Bohatta Ia; Meder XXVI 1; Norman 665; PMM 54; Stillwell Science 161; Fact and Fantasy 165; VD16 D 2857.

BOUND WITH: Etliche underricht, zu befestigung der Stett, Schlosz, und Flecken. Nuremberg: [Hieronymus Andreas Formschneider], October 1527.
A B4 C6 D4+1 E F4. Title with large woodcut arms of Ferdinand I, 20 woodcut illustrations or diagrams of fortifications 10 with folding extensions, and the large woodcut "Belagerung einer Festung" printed from two blocks signed with the monogram AD and date 1527 trimmed to the woodcut border. Without G1 errata-leaf as issued. Woodcut fraktur initials. One folding plate repaired on verso some occasional light staining. FIRST EDITION, second state, without the errata leaf, and with corrected text. Fortification of cities, castles and marketplaces, was important considering the threat of a Turkish invasion. "As well as summarizing the science of fortification it contains some of Dürer's chief architectural work ... Many of his ideas were put to use..." (DSB). Two editions were printed in the same month, the first with uncorrected text and an errata leaf, and the other without the errata and the errors in the text corrected (as here). A minority of copies contains the extra folding sheet with a monogrammed woodcut dated 1527 showing a fortress under siege (Bartsch 137). Adams D-1057 (as Part II of the Underweysung); Fairfax Murray German 151 ("second edition"); Bohatta 11a; Cockle 766; Meder XXVIII 1; Stillwell Science 835; VD16 D 2853.

BOUND WITH: Hierinn sind begriffen vier bücher von menschlicher Proportion. Edited by Willibald Pirckheimer. Nuremberg: Hieronymus Andreae Formschneider for Dürer's widow, 31 October 1528.
A-M6 N4 O6(-O6) P-S6 T4 U-X6 Y6(-Y6) Z6. Gothic type, sometimes double column. Without O6 and Y6 as usual, probably cancels used on the folding plates in those gatherings. Dürer's large woodcut monogram on title, approximately 136 full-length proportional woodcuts of human figures, many two to a page, and numerous smaller, geometrical or proportional woodcut diagrams, some of individual body parts (heads, arms, hands or feet), fraktur initials, flourished woodcut tail-piece ornaments, 5 fold-out sheets printed on both sides, colophon on verso of Z3, Gothic type, mostly double-column. C6, P1.6 mounted on stub, M2.5 with blank outer margins extended, a few leaves with repairs affecting some letters (including title, C2, V3, X1, X5) some browning and staining. FIRST EDITION OF DÜRER'S MASTERPIECE ON HUMAN PROPORTION. THE FIRST APPLICATION OF ANTHROPOMETRY TO AESTHETICS. "Written, designed and illustrated by Dürer, the posthumous Vier Bücher was the first work to discuss the problems of comparative and differential anthropometry. Dürer held that the essence of true form was the primary mathematical figure (e.g., straight line, circle, curve, conic section) constructed arithmetically or geometrically, and made beautiful by the application of a canon of proportion. However, he was also convinced that beauty of form was a relative and not an absolute quality; thus the purpose of his system of anthropometry was to provide the artist with the means to delineate, on the basis of sheer measurement, all possible types of human figures" (Norman). "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). Bohatta 17; Choulant-Frank, pp 143-144; Garrison-Morton 149; Meder Dürer-Katalog XXIX 1; NLM/Durling 1295; Norman 666; Stillwell Science 622; VD16 D2859.

FIRST EDITIONS. An important Sammelband consisting of three books Dürer wrote toward the end of his life and which he also designed for the press. These include: a treatise on mensuration which introduced to Northern Europe techniques of perspective and mathematical proportion in drawing, painting, architecture and letter forms, which Dürer learned in Italy; a treatise on fortification; and a work on the proportion of the human body. These three works "were the foundation of accepted aesthetic dogma until the nineteenth century" (PMM).

Saleroom notices

  • The folding woodcut in the second work "Belagerung einer Festung" is possibly supplied from another copy.
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