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Ein Contrafacter Todt...

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1874,0711.1982

  • Title (object)

    • Ein Contrafacter Todt...
  • Description

    A broadside on death; with a woodcut depicting a skeleton, its components identified with Latin inscriptions, and letterpress title and verses. ([Augsburg, Steiner: c.1530])

  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1530 (circa)
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 348 millimetres (printed area)
    • Width: 203 millimetres (printed area)
    • Height: 268 millimetres (woodcut)
    • Width: 203 millimetres (woodcut)
  • Curator's comments

    This broadside, both text and image, is a copy of one printed in Strasbourg in 1517 by Johann Schott. The 1517 woodcut, very closely copied here and not from the original block, is said on rather doubtful evidence to be from a drawing by Hans Wechtlin (ca.1480/85-after 1526). This figure of Death is apparently based on a stone memorial in Saverne cathedral for Archbishop of Strasbourg Albrecht of Bavaria by the sculptor Nikolaus Gerhaerd of Leyden. The verses turn an early scientific image, with its Latin names appropriately attached, into a more traditional Memento mori. They are stark and compressed, but beautiful and memorable. The last couplet translates: "Honour God, look after yourself, disregard the world/ Your soul is eternal, the body dies". More accurate woodcuts of the human skeleton were soon to be produced for the leading anatomist Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564). (David Paisey) Printer's name supplied by Helmut Claus, Gotha.

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  • Location

    Not on display (German XVIc Mounted Roy)

  • Exhibition history

    2002: BM, Text and image: German illustrated broadsides of four centuries
    2009 Aug-Dec, BM P&D, Sixteenth-century anatomical prints

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1874

  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number

    1874,0711.1982

A broadside on death; with a woodcut depicting a skeleton, its components identified with Latin inscriptions, and letterpress title and verses. ([Augsburg, Steiner: c.1530])

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Object reference number: PPA56380

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