Nürnberg: Hieronymus Formschneider, 1532.
1st Edition. Hardcover. Folio - over 12 - 15" tall. Very Good. Item #003253
22 Nov. 1534. Two works in one volume. Folio (323 x 208 mm). 79 (of 80, lacking blank) and 55 (of 56, lacking blank) unnumbered leaves. Signatures: A-E6 F4 G-N6 O4 (-O4); a-k6 (-k6). Gatherings b to k of second work misbound after gathering A of first work. First title with 8-line verse to the reader above Dürer's woodcut monogram, gothic letter, text in single and double columns, more than 150 mostly full-page woodcut illustrations and diagrams. Unsigned leaves a4, e6, f6, i5 split from bifolio and attached to a3, e5, f1, i4 respectively to gain folding leaves (as called for). Errata on k5v. Bound without the final blanks O4 and k6. 19th-century half vellum, spine with hand-lettered paper label (slightly soiled and rubbed). Internally only very little age-toned, a few ink smudges, occasional brown spotting, staining and finger soiling, light dampstaining to lower blank margin of a few pages, old paper repair at gutter of final page and lower blank margin of second title (leaving two small holes in blank area), contemporary ink annotations and corrections in text on two pages, a few anatomical illustration with shading hatchures added in sepia, illustration on h2r lightly crayoned. Provenance: Johann Vogler*, Zürich (inscribed on both title-pages "Joannis Vogleri, Tigurum", on 2nd title also with architectural monograms in sepia of both, Albrecht Dürer and Johann Vogler), illegible stamp to first title, Fürstenberg Hofbibliothek, Donaueschingen (old stamp on second title); Thomas Vroom (pictorial bookplate to front pastedown). A very good, wide-margined copy, with all the text leaves and woodcuts present. ----
Adams D-1044; Fairfax Murray German Books 152; Bohatta 20; DSB IV, pp. 259-60. FIRST LATIN EDITION, in two parts, of Vier Bücher von menschlicher Proportion first 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. He began formulating mathematical rules for the proportions of the human form soon after his first trip to Venice in 1494-95. 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). 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" (translation from Dürer Katalog, Nürnberg, 1971).
The private Royal Fürstenberg Hofbibliothek was disassembled and sold between 1980 and 2001 by their former owners.
Of special interest are the two painted monograms on the second title, mostl likely in Johann Vogler's hand, which nicely demonstrate the appeal and fascination of Dürer's invention to his contemporaries. Today it is commonly agreed that Dürer designed one of the first corporate logos in world history with quite a simplistic, but highly recognizable and catchy monogram just consisting of two letters: A and D. Johann Vogler here applies the architectural style of Dürer's monogram and created his own logo.
* Johannes (Hans) Vogler (1498-1567) was a Swiss bailiff of Altstätten in St. Gallen and follower of the reformation movement around Vadian and Zwingli in Switzerland. He also became gauger and supervisor of the wine cellars of St. Gallen. He took part in the battle of Bicocca as a lieutnant and in 1541 became owner of Uster castle in Canton of Zürich (see Martin Bucer Briefwechsel/Correspondance: Band IX (September 1532 - Juni 1533), p.347).
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