In Principio creavit Deus celum et terra...

Hartmann Schedel (*1440 - 1514)
Collection of 4 sheets of the history of creation, Genesis, printed by H. Koberger 1493 in Nuremberg.

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Description

The Book of Chronicles or Liber Chronicarum by Hartmann Schedel, also called Schedel's World History or Nuremberg Chronicle, starts with the creation of the world by God according to the Book of Genesis. The seven days of creation are depicted on four leaves in 8 circular woodcuts. All four leaves with the woodcuts on the front and the back side are offered here.

Sheet 1 recto: In Principio creavit Deus celum et terra / In the beginning God created heaven and earth.
Sheet 1 verso: De opere prime diei. - 1st day, light
Sheet 2 recto: De opere secunde diei. - 2nd day, firmament
Sheet 2 verso: De opere tereie diei. - 3rd day, land and sea, plants
Sheet 3 recto: De opere quarte diei. - 4th day, celestial body
Sheet 3 verso: De opere quinte diei. - 5th day, animals of the water and air
Sheet 4 recto: De opere sexte diei. - 6th day, land animals, humans
Sheet 4 verso: De sanctificatione septime diei. - 7th day, Sabbath

Susannah Helman in Mapping Our World: Terra Incognita To Australia about the last woodcut in the series:

Among its extraordinary woodcuts are two that capture early modern European thinking about the world and its place in the cosmos. The first is a conception of the earth and heavens as newly created by God.... Midway through the 'first age' of history is the woodcut depicting De sanctificatione septime diei (On the sanctification of the seventh day), the last and most spectacular in a series of seven. It shows God resting after creating the world in six days. This is a Christian-Aristotelian view of the cosmos: at the centre is the earth surrounded by the other three elements of water, air and fire. Beyond it are the seven planetary spheres (the Moon, Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn), then the firmament (the dome of fixed stars), the crystalline heaven and Aristotle's primum mobile the revolving outermost sphere which moves the universe by imparting motion to the other spheres. God on his throne oversees the scene, surrounded by the angelic hierarchy, also listed at the left. The four winds grace the corners. The woodcut, then, combines ancient philosophy, a Christian perspective and the weather.

Michael Wolgemut and his stepson Wilhelm Pleydenwurff were woodblock cutters of the illustrations of Schedel's World Chronicle. Albrecht Dürer was an apprentice in Wohlgemut's workshop between 1486 and 1490, so the young Dürer was most likely involved in the woodcutting work, since some of his illustrations for his Apocalypse show a remarkable similarity.

Details

CartographerHartmann Schedel
TitleIn Principio creavit Deus celum et terra...
Publisher, YearAnton Koberger, Nuremberg, 1493
Plate Size22.4 x 22.0 cm (8.8 x 8.7 inches)
Sheet Size41.0 x 29.0 cm (16.1 x 11.4 inches)

Condition

Partly slightly stained and small tears in the white margin backed. Very good condition.

Cartographer

Hartmann Schedel was born 1440 in Nuremberg. He studied in Leipzig and Padua several disciplines also Physics, Medicine and Laws. Neither his social position nor his business made him famous, but his major work the so called Schedel's World Chronicle. The incunable was issued 1493 in Latin, followed by the German edition in the same year. It contains more than 1800 woodcuts out of Michael Wolgemut woodcut shop. Albrecht Dürer completed an apprenticeship with Wolgemut around 1490, so even Dürer may has worked on these woodcuts. Many of the illustrations showing cities the first time ever. In 1497 the Small Schedel was printed by Johann Schönsperger in Augsburg, a reduced version of the Nuremberg print also smaller in size. Schedel died 1514 in Nuremberg.

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Hartmann Schedel: In Principio creavit Deus celum et terra....
Collection of 4 sheets of the history of creation, Genesis, printed by H. Koberger 1493 in Nuremberg.

Old Masters - Schedel, Hartmann - In Principio creavit Deus celum et terra...

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