[Germany. Originally 1512-1519, but this printing ca. 1777]. Twenty-six woodcut panels, from 15 x 9 inches to 15 x 15 1/4 inches, most sized closer to the latter. All mounted to old cardstock, some toning and edge wear, almost all with pinholes, some with the printed sequence number trimmed away, short jagged tear in one example. Overall good. Item #WRCAM49709
A collection of twenty-six panels from the famous and monumental series of woodcuts commissioned by Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I and commonly known as THE TRIUMPHAL PROCESSION or THE TRIUMPH OF MAXIMILIAN I. This massive undertaking to celebrate in woodcut the achievements of the young emperor resulted in a continuous woodcut image that measures approximately 177 feet when all 139 images are placed in sequence. From 1512 and until Maximilian's death in 1519, numerous skilled artists of the day created woodblock images for the TRIUMPH, including Hans Burgkmair, Albrecht Dürer, Albrecht Altdorfer, Hans Springinklee, Leonard Beck, Hans Schäufelein, and Wolf Huber. The text to accompany the book was personally dictated by Maximilian to his secretary, Marx Treitzsaurwein. It is from this text that we know the subjects and settings for each of the individual woodcuts. Hans Burgkmair was the chief artist responsible for the TRIUMPH. Burgkmair was the leading painter and draughtsman in the wealthy city of Augsburg, and of all of Maximilian's artists, Burgkmair was the most important in adapting his talents to the service of the Emperor. He is best remembered for his graphic work including Biblical illustrations, book illustrations, coats of arms, and ornaments. Burgkmair drew sixty-six of the 137 woodcuts for the TRIUMPH, accounting for nineteen of the twenty-six woodcuts here. Six of the remaining seven woodcuts in this collection were accomplished by Albrecht Altdorfer (numbers 73, 74, 75, 76, 78, and 85), attributed to him by critic Joseph Meder in 1932 on stylistic grounds. Number 126 is attributed to Hans Schäufelein. Because the portions of some of the woodcuts with banner plaques are supposed to have inscriptions but are printed in solid black (as in numbers 73-76, and others below), these examples were printed from the original woodblocks in either the 1520s or circa 1777. The cutting of the inscriptions on these woodblocks was completed after the second edition in 1777 but before the edition of 1796. So these woodcuts are most likely from the 1777 second edition based on paper stock, overall appearance, and the differences in the numbers printed on some examples as they relate to the first edition strikes. The woodcuts present here are especially interesting for their depiction of peoples, animals, and costumes from exotic lands. The two-panel scene composed of numbers 21 and 22 shows a giant camel pulling two men playing organs. The giant African or Asian elephant in the penultimate number is exquisitely handled, and punctuates the two panels present here that depict the exotic peoples of Calicut, a port city on the Malabar coast of southern India. Portuguese ships had first reached Calicut in 1506 and the colony of Goad established in 1511, so their appearance represents peoples as exotic as New World natives would have been. These people are largely represented as little more than savages, wearing loin cloths, animal skins, grass skirts, or no clothing, carrying primitive weaponry, and juxtaposed with their animals in a more intimate manner than the more "civilized" people represented in the other woodcuts, carrying monkeys and birds and walking amongst their cows and sheep. Several examples present here can be conjoined to make two-, three-, or four-panel displays. Numbers 41 and 42 connect jousters to the chief jousting official who bears their banner, the beginning panels of the jousting section of the display. Numbers 44 and 45 connect Italian jousters with their standard bearer. Numbers 47- 49 also connect jousters in a three-panel display showing high-saddled jousters, those in leg armor, and still more Italian jousters with rounded handguards. The most continuous display achievable with this selection is a four-panel representation of horsemen from the Austrian hereditary territories from Duino to various foreign inheritances. The twenty-six woodcuts included here are as follows (all numbers referencing the Dover publication, followed by the number printed on the image, if one can be ascertained): 1) Number 11. Wilhelm von Greyssen, the chief boar hunter, on horseback with five wild boars trailing him. 2) Number 13. Herr Diepolt von Slandersberg, the chief bear hunter, on horseback with five bears trailing him. 3) Number 15. Vice-marshal Eberpach bearing a plaque for the cupbearer, cook, barber, tailor, and cobbler. 4) Number 21. A large camel driven by a small boy carrying the leader's verse. 5) Number 22. Master Paul Hofhaimer and another musician on a low plow car bearing an organ. This woodcut connects with number 21 above via a harness on the camel. 6) Number 37. Five men of the Gefecht with bucklers with unsheathed long swords. 7) Number 40. Five men of the Gefecht with ordinary swords in the scabbards, all wearing wreaths. 8) Number 41. Herr Anthony von Yfan, chief tourneyer, on horseback bearing a banner which was to have been inscribed with verse regarding knightly tournaments. 9) Number 42. Following Yfan, five tourneyers abreast in good order on foot in full armor. Follows the woodcut featuring Yfan just above. 10) Number 44. Printed number 43 in upper right corner. Herr Wolfgang von Polhaim on horseback bearing a banner for Rennen, a type of jousting with pointed lances and lighter armor. 11) Number 45. Italian jousters, five abreast in good order, on horseback. 12) Number 47. Hohenzeuggestech, high-saddled jousters, five abreast on horseback. 13) Number 48. Five jousters in leg armor, on horseback, the horses covered in leather, the jousters grasping their lances beneath the round guards, heads wreathed. 14) Number 49. Italian jousters, five on horseback, with murneten, round jousts with circular guards. 15) Number 51. Printed number 50 in upper right corner. Geschifftrennen, five men on horseback with shields that jump into the air in pieces. 16) Number 55. Printed number 49 in upper right corner. Schwiefrennen, showing five men on horseback, indicating an oblique line of attack. 17) Number 73. The Austrian hereditary territories of Duino, Oberwaldsee, and Unterwaldsee represented by three horsemen bearing banners of the territories. 18) Number 74. The Austrian hereditary territories of Burgendt and Zeringen represented by two horsemen bearing banners of the territories. 19) Number 75. The Austrian hereditary territories of Bohemian inheritance and English inheritance represented by two horsemen bearing banners of the territories. 20) Number 76. The Austrian hereditary territories of Portuguese inheritance and Moravian inheritance represented by two horsemen bearing banners of the territories. 21) Number 78. A group of Burgundian fifers in good order with bombardons, a type of bass tuba. 22) Number 85. Printed number 84 in upper right corner. The Burgundian territories of Charolois, Maconois, and Auxerrois represented by three men on horseback carrying banners. 23) Number 114. Printed number 97 in upper right corner. Prisoners from lands where Maximilian waged war, this scene shows ten men carrying a statue of a woman with angel's wings, and each of these women carrying a palm or some other symbol of triumph. 24) Number 126. Printed number 104 in upper right corner. Meritorious soldiers, showing a man on foot carrying a banner, followed by two ranks of arquebusiers, five men in each. 25) Number 129. Printed 107 in the upper right corner. The people of Calicut, represented by a man in a loin cloth, wearing a laurel wreath, astride a giant elephant, followed by representations of the people of Calicut, naked like Indians. 26) Number 131. Printed number 109 in the upper right corner. More people of Calicut with spears, some naked, some dressed in the Moorish fashion, all wearing laurel wreaths, and including a cow, a small child, and two women carrying baskets of fruit atop their heads. "In its boldness of conception, its epic proportions, and its wealth of content, the TRIUMPH OF MAXIMILIAN I stands as one of the world's richest and most unusual monuments of art....In one splendid sheet after another it portrays the achievements and aspirations, the dreams of eternity and the earthly pleasures, of the most colorful and paradoxical ruler of his time....Fond as he was of entertainments and traditions that harked back to medieval times, still this 'last of the knights' (born 1459, dies 1519) possessed a sense of the power of publicity unique in his day. He saw clearly how he could enhance the glory of himself and his Hapsburg dynasty through the widest possible dissemination of inspiring words and pictures. The woodcut was the ideal medium for his purpose....It is impossible to overestimate the importance of the TRIUMPH as a primary source for the history of costume, musical instruments, heraldry, and military and sporting weapons, armor, and appurtenances; for portraits of individual historical characters; and for hundreds of authentic and unusual ornamental motifs" - Appelbaum. An excellent cross-section of Maximilian I's incredible pictorial celebration of his reign, extraordinarily rare in the market for even a single example. Stanley Appelbaum, THE TRIUMPH OF MAXIMILIAN I (New York: Dover Publications, 1964).