Heinrich Schweickher: Atlas of Wuerttemberg 1575

The earliest Atlas of Wuerttemberg

The manuscript comprises the oldest know Atlas of the former Duchy of Wuerttemberg. Its 52 minutely designed and lavishly coloured charts depict the districts and places of Wuerttemberg, then under ecclesiastical or secular administration, leaving out, however, the imperial free cities.

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A land in bird’s-eye view

The maps are drawn in bird’s-eye perspective; towns and villages, hamlets and farmsteads, rivers and woods, valleys and hills are characterised in outline. Like other charts of the time the Atlas of Wuerttemberg displayed, the world with a different standard then the one used today, with North at the foot of the page, South on top, West on the right and East on the left. The work of the office father from southern Wuerttemberg, Heinrich Schweickher(1526–1579) is an outstanding achievement of its time. All later maps and charts of the region go back to this elementary work.

 

Faithful facsimile edition of the manuscript Cod. Hist. 4° 102 in the Württembergische Landesbibliothek Stuttgart. 114 pages. Format: 38×25.5cm. Dark leather binding with blind tooling. 48-page academic commentary volume by Wolfgang Irtenkauf.

 

Both volumes in a case.

A unique, enigmatic masterpiece

The Kunsthistorisches Museum of Vienna, which is truly rich in magnificent works of art, also houses an unequalled masterpiece. An artistic treasure so unique in its kind and artistic form, while remaining an utterly enigmatic object: the so-called Vienna Model Book. Although commonly referred to as a model book throughout literature, its original purpose is still unknown. This collection of paintings by an anonymous Bohemian master comprises a total of 56 silver pen drawings. Delicately heightened with colour, they bear testimony to his great skill and mastery. In this piece of work, the artist has perfectly implemented the rich formal vocabulary of the “International Style” from the period around 1400. The extremely delicate drawings have additionally been modelled with fine brush strokes in white and red and thus attain outstanding three-dimensionality, despite their small format.

Caspar Vopelius: Rheinkarte von 1555

Maple tablets and a stamped leather case – a precious frame for a magnificent work of art

This is a truly extraordinary piece, not least due to its outer appearance: a total of 14 small maple tablets lie protected in a valuable, dark stamped leather case. Each of the tablets is set with four fine, detailed drawings that are placed in small frames. The tablets were originally arranged in a fanfold, and the valuable leather case had been designed to protect the valuable contents, with a strap that probably served to carry it around as a bag.

The purpose of this unique piece of art still remains a matter of speculation. Was it a model collection for an itinerant artist, who was just as familiar with Bohemian as with French and Italian art, or was it destined for a patron – a gift of thanks or an incentive for the patron to commission more art in order to secure the artist’s livelihood?

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