- Museum number
Title-page with title lettered inside an ornate oval frame in centre foreground, surrounded by cross-bearing Christ with the crown of thorns at left and the personification of humanity as a young female at right; the frame rests on the symbols of three evangelists at bottom; title-page to the third edition of 'Divinarum nuptiarum conventa et acta' (Antwerp, 1580). 1580
- Production date
Height: 101 millimetres
Width: 140 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- This is a set of twenty-eight numbered engravings designed by Gerard van Groeningen to illustrate 'Divinarum nuptiarum conventa et acta'. The bound volume is preceded by an engraved title-page, followed by a dedication to Heinrich Julius, the Duke of Brunswick and Lüneburg, and a Latin text, both written by Arnold Freytag. The text is followed by a set of engravings, telling the story of a loyal bride (Sponsa) preparing herself for a holy wedding with Christ the Bridegroom (Sponsus). This is the third of the four known editions of the book published by Christopher Plantin for Philips Galle in Antwerp in 1580. Only the first plate bears the monogram of Johannes Wierix at bottom left, making the attribution of the rest of the plates difficult. New Hollstein attributes only the signed plate to Wierix, suggesting that the other plates are 'probably by workshop of Philips Galle'. The first edition was published in Galle's workshop in 1573, with a prefatory poem written by Benito Arias Montano, as well as Latin verses situated in lower margins of each engraving. French text by Peeter Heyns was added at the back of each plate in the second edition published in Antwerp in 1574. In the third edition, Montano's original text was replaced by Arnold Freytag's Latin prose, the verses on the plates were removed, the dedication to Heinrich Julius added and the title-page replaced (not designed by Groeningen); for the original title-page see New Hollstein on the Wierix Family, Book Illustrations I, no.6. The fourth edition was published by Claes Jansz. Visscher in Amsterdam in 1642, using Freytag's Latin text and the title-page from the third edition.
In the BM edition, the flyleaves at the front bear Sloane's registration numbers and contain two watermarks of the coat of arms of Amsterdam (resembles nos.43 and 50 in W.A. Churchill's 'Watermarks in Paper in the XVII and XVIII Centuries', Amsterdam, 1935), dated to 1708 and 1729. The same watermark appears on the flyleaf glued to the back cover. A blank sheet behind the flyleaves (bearing the old Sloane registration numbers) shows a watermark of grapes (nos.474-478). The watermaks suggest that it is likely that this volume was bound whilst still in Sloane's collection. The volume is gilt-tooled on the spine with the author's name ("Fritach"), abbreviated title ("Divinae Nuptiae") and production details ("Antv.1580").
Literature: Walter S. Melion, 'The Meditative Art: Studies in the Northern Devotional Print, 1550-1625', Philadelphia, 2009, pp.37-105.
- Not on display
- Associated titles
Associated Title: Divinarum nuptiarum conventa et acta
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: 1972,U.7.1