Enchiridion artis pingendi, fingendi & sculpendi: In quod Thesaurus novus & ingens, variarum figurarum, viroru(m), mulierum, infantum & animalium, in usu adolescentiae cupidae adeoq(ue) omnium artis huis amantium est congestus

Autore AMMAN, Jost (1539-1591).
Tipografo Peter Schmidt for Sigmund Feyerabend
Dati tipografici Frankfurt a.M., 
Prezzo Venduto/Sold
Enchiridion artis pingendi, fingendi & sculpendi

“The first European prototype of the illustrated children's book” (M. Salisbury, Illustrating Children's Books: Creating and Painting Pictures for Publication, London, 2004, p. 8)

4to (169x127 mm). [112] leaves. Title within an ornamental woodcut border and 107 full-page woodcuts. Late 19th century calf, gilt lettering on the front panel, marbled endpapers, some light browning and spots, a small marginal repair at the inner margin of the first leaf, but a fine copy.

VERY RARE FIRST EDITION of Amman's famous woodcut book intended as drawing lessons for children (cf. M. Heilmann, N. Nanobashvili, et al. eds., Punkt, Punkt, Komma, Strich. Zeichenbücher in Europa, ca. 1525-1925, Passau, 2014, p. 12).

In the same year appeared a German version with title Kunst- und Lehrbüchlein für die anfahenden Jungen daraus reissen und malen zu lernen (‘Art and instruction book for young beginners, from whichto learn how to draw and paint'). The two versions differ in the dedications, the disposition and number of plates (cf. A. Andresen, Der deutsche Peintre-Graveur, Leipzig, 1872, I, p. 400-403, no. 237). The Latin version has five more plates and is dedicated to Hieronymus Augustus Holzhausen (the Elder, cf. H. Körner, Frankfurter Patrizier, Neustadt, 2003, pp. 204-205), lay judge, city councilor and patron of Sigismund Feyerabend. The German version is dedicated to the famous Nuremberg goldsmiths Hans and Elias Lencker. The Latin version may have been printed first since the dedication to Holzhausen is dated March 1, 1578, whereas the German one id dated March 16. In 1580 a second edition with a German title was published with a second part containing woodcuts by Virgil Solis and in 1599 a version with nearly three-hundred woodcuts, not longer intended as instruction book for the youth, but as pattern book for artisans and artist and generally dedicated to all lovers of painting (cf. A. Werner, Introduction, in: “293 Renaissance Woodcuts for Artists and Illustrators, Jost Amman's Kunstbüchlein”, New York, 1968, p. IX).

“Jost Ammans Kunst- und Lehrbüchlein ist das erste gedruckte Jugendbuch und zugleich ein wichtiges kulturhistorisches Dokument detailgetreuer Abriss der Alltags- und Geisteswelt im späten 16. Jahrhundert. Es wurde ausdrücklich zum Vergnügen und zur Belehrung der Jugend veröffentlicht. In seinem Vorwort bekennt sich der Verleger, Sigmund Feyerabend, zu diesem Titel, weil er beklagen muss, dass die Jugendlichen nicht früh genug mit guter Kunst in Berührung gebracht und darin unterrichtet würden… Als Bilderbuch für die Jugend zeichnet sich Ammans Kunst- und Lehrbüchlein auch von späteren Werken dieser Art durch die Qualität der Holzschnittdarstellungen und durch die Vielfalt seiner Themen aus: Amman zählt nicht nur zu den berühmtesten Buchillustratoren seiner Zeit, er war sicher auch der produktivste und vielseitigste Künstler auf diesem Gebiet, und seine gründliche Beobachtungsgabe vermittelt uns ein detailliertes Bild der Zeit, ihrer kulturellen Errungenschaften und ihrer politischen Geschehnisse” (R. Mettler, Einleitung, in: “Jost Amman, Kunst- und Lehrbüchlein”, Stuttgart, 1971, p. 5).     

Jost Amman, draughtsman, woodcutter, engraver, etcher and painter, was the youngest son of the noted scholar and Chorherr in Zürich, Johann Jacob Amman, a friend of Zwingli and Konrad Gesner. For his apprenticeship he may have been in Basle or Zürich, but probably spent some time in Paris or Lyons, since his early works show a close similarity to French book illustrations. In 1561 Amman was in Nuremberg, where he may have worked with Virgil Solis, the chief illustrator for the Frankfurt publisher Sigismund Feyerabend. When Solis died in 1562, Feyerabend probably commissioned Amman to continue the woodcuts for his ambitious Bible projects. His most famous illustrations are those of the Ständebuch (1568) with representations of the various trades of the time and the over two hundred woodcuts for the Bible (1571). In 1578 and 1579 Feyerabend produced the works that made Amman famous in the following centuries: several pattern books for artists. In spite of his fame and enormous productivity Amman lived in constant poverty and shortly before his death he wrote the last of many letters to his rich relatives in Zürich asking for money and complaining about his illness and the Nuremberg city fathers, whose bankrupting taxes on his property would leave his family in need. Amman enjoyed a high reputation among his contemporaries and proved an influential source for such later artists as Peter Paul Rubens, Rembrandt and Joshua Reynolds. After his death his reputation declined, and the variable quality of his prolific output was criticized. Yet it was precisely his ability to adapt himself to every task and to change his style according to demand that made him the ideal partner for the most ambitious and prolific publisher of his time (cf. O. Nagler, Jost Amman, in: “Von nah und fern. Zuwanderer in die Reichsstadt Nürnberg”, B. Korn & al., eds., Peterberg, 2014, pp. 135-140, and J.C. Smith, Nuremberg, a Renaissance City, 1500-1618, Austin, TX, 1983, p. 275).

VD 16, A-2296; Universal STC, no. 650356; Index Aureliensis 104.813; C. Becker, Jobst Amman: Zeichner und Formschneider, Kupferätzer und Stecher, Leipzig, 1854, p. 96, no. 27b; The New Hollstein, German Engravings, Etchings and Woodcuts, 1400-1700, vol. 5: G. Seelig, comp., Jost Amman, Book Illustrations, pt. 6, (Rotterdam, 2003), p. 2; I. O'Dell, Jost Ammans Buchschmuck-Holzschnitte für Sigmund Feyerabend. Zur Technik der Verwendungen von Bild-Holzstöcken in den Drucken von 1563-1599, (Wiesbaden, 1993), passim and p. 157 (reproduction of the title-page).

Copies at: Augsburg, München, Berlin, Bern (damaged), Paris (two copies: BN & Arsenal), Narbonne, Reims, Cornell University, NY; Northwestern University, Evanston, IL; Cambridge (UK), Oxford (UK). Last copy sold at auction: Parke-Bernet Galeries, New York, Sale 1032, January 27/28, 1949, Fritz Kreisler Collection, now in the Metropolitan Museum, NY.

  • Enchiridion artis pingendi, fingendi & sculpendi
  • Enchiridion artis pingendi, fingendi & sculpendi
  • Enchiridion artis pingendi, fingendi & sculpendi
  • Enchiridion artis pingendi, fingendi & sculpendi
  • Enchiridion artis pingendi, fingendi & sculpendi
  • Enchiridion artis pingendi, fingendi & sculpendi
  • Enchiridion artis pingendi, fingendi & sculpendi
  • Enchiridion artis pingendi, fingendi & sculpendi
  • Enchiridion artis pingendi, fingendi & sculpendi