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'Hjerin[n] sind begriffen vier bücher von menschlicher Proportion, durch Albrecht Dürer...erfunden'; first edition of Albrecht Dürer's book on human proportions, published after Dürer's death by his widow, Agnes; with German text and illustrations by Dürer, printed by Hieronymus Andreae in Nuremberg in 1528; the book includes various outline woodcuts and diagrams.
Woodcut and letterpress
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- Curator's comments
- CD: Watermark: "The three mentioned by Hausmann, p.100"
This book is bound in a blind-stamped calf binding with 'Albrechten Dürers Opera' on the cover; it also includes a copy of Dürer's book on measurement 'Underweysung der Messung, mit dem Zirckel und richtscheyt', reg. no. 1858.0626.652.1
Entry from 'Albrecht Dürer and his Legacy' BM exh.cat 2002, no.172:
'This book represents the summation of Dürer's work on a subject which had absorbed him for almost thirty years. The text was virtually complete when he died on 6 April 1528. It was published posthumously by Agnes Dürer and seen through the press by Pirckheimer, to whom Dürer had dedicated the work.
Over the course of his career, Dürer's ideas on proportion went through various changes. His studies of around 1500 (cat.no 70) indicate that he was primarily interested in creating a single ideal type from mathematical construction to be used directly in art. After his second trip to Italy, he gradually came to realise that no single canon of beauty could be achieved and he started assembling alternate sets of proportions for the different shapes and sizes of human figures, for which he took detailed measurements from several hundred individuals. Dürer's book was written as a text book to which artists could refer. To illustrate his various types, he used schematised figures in two or three different views; but they were intended primarily to show the results of his research and not to be of practical use to artists. In later years, it was this side of his work which adherents of the eighteenth-century 'grand manner' found most difficult to appreciate. William Hogarth illustrates one of the figures from Dürer's book in plate 1 of his Analysis of Beauty of 1753, and comments: 'Whilst Albert Dürer , who drew mathematically, never so much as deviated into grace, which he must sometimes have done in copying the life, if he had not been fettered with his own impracticable rules of proportion' (see Bialostocki, p.59). '
See R. Schoch et al, Albrecht Dürer: das druckgraphische Werk', vol.III, Munich, 2004, pp.319-474, no.277 for a full discussion of this publication.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2009 Feb-May, London, Hayward Gallery, Mark Wallinger (opened at page with artist drawing a seated man, and artist drawing a lute)
- Associated titles
Associated Title: Hjerin[n] sind begriffen vier bücher von menschlicher Proportion, durch Albrecht Dürer...erfunden
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- Prints and Drawings
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