Close XYL-1 The Agony in The Garden of Gethsemane, etc. (Stöger-Passion)

XYL-1.1 Christ Washing Peter’s feet, and The Last Supper; The Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.

 [Southern Germany (Bavaria?), c.1455– 60]. Metalcuts (dotted prints) with Latin inscription.

 Schr. 2232. The picture of Christ washing Peter’s feet and the Last Supper is printed on the recto. Christ kneels, to the left in the foreground, washing the feet of Peter, who is seated to the right and whose right foot is placed in the basin. Behind this group is a second scene, the Last Supper, in which Christ is shown seated at the centre of the table with his disciples on either side. He is shown wearing a different long-sleeved gown and raising his right hand in blessing. John rests his head on Christ’s bosom. The table is decked with a cloth, on which has been placed a pretzel, a knife, a plate containing a fish, and a piece of bread. Judas, the only figure with no halo, is seated in front of the table, his head raised, and otherwise largely obscured by the group in the foreground. One of four recorded copies, the others in Berlin Kupferstichkab, Munich BSB, and Vienna Albertina.

ills. A. Stix, Die Einblattdrucke des XV. Jahrhunderts in der Kupferstichsammlung der Hofbibliothek zu Wien. 2. Bd.: Die Schrotschnitte (Vienna, 1920), pl. V ill. 34 (Vienna copy); Haebler, Leiden Christi, pl. VIII ill. 24 (Bodleian copy); Aderlass und Seelentrost, 276 (Berlin copy); Schmidt, Gedruckte Bilder, ill. 283 (Vienna copy); Bodleian Filmstrip Roll 245, no. 16.

 Schr. 2243. The Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane is printed on the verso. Christ is portrayed as a robed figure, with hands folded in prayer, kneeling in the garden, which is surrounded by a wattle fence. Above Christ a banderole inscribed ‘Pa|ter si possibile est transfe.’ (standing for a variant reading of Mt 26,39: ‘Si possibile est, transfer a me calicem / transferat a me calix iste’; see Schr. 2240a). Three disciples are sleeping in the foreground. The one in the middle has a book, which rests on the fence. To the right, inside the garden, there rises a cliff surmounted by the chalice, above which the blessing hand of God emerges from the clouds, surrounded by stars. To the left a closed gate, behind which two soldiers (the second scarcely visible in this impression) and three lances are to be seen. One of five recorded copies, the others in Berlin Kupferstichkab, Munich BSB, Paris BnF, and Vienna Albertina.

ills. H. Delaborde, Engraving: Its Origin, Processes, and History, trans. R. A. M. Stevenson (London, 1886), 43 fig. 13 (Paris copy); Bouchot II pl. 9 no. 11 (Paris copy); Stix pl. V ill. 35 (Vienna copy); Haebler, Leiden Christi, pl. VIII ill. 24 (Bodleian copy); Bodleian Filmstrip Roll 245, no. 17.

 XYL-1.1–2 belong to a cycle of metalcuts with 16, 18, or 20 scenes extending from the Entry into Jerusalem to the Last Judgement and known from the Munich copy as the Stöger-Passion (or Leiden Christi), designed to be printed on small leaves with the dimensions of chancery 8o and often made up into a booklet. Schreiber dates them c.1460 and localizes them on the Upper Rhine, whereas Schmidt has recently argued that they are most likely Bavarian on the basis of the language of the associated German texts. One print from the cycle is attested in a manuscript prayerbook dated 1458 (Munich, Hartung & Karl, auction 14, 19–20 Nov. 1975, no. 8; see Cermann). Those copies for which the original codicological structure can be determined were mostly so manufactured that they could be assembled in a single quire, with the illustrations printed on one side of the paper (versos in the first half and rectos in the second half of the quire) and handwritten or printed prayers in German on the reverse of the leaves. Four such copies of the Stöger-Passion survive with handwritten text (Berlin Kupferstichkab, Cim. 23, wanting four leaves; Vienna Albertina, Inv.-Nr. 727–744/1929, complete cycle of 20 illustrations; the Scripps fragment in Detroit, Institute of Arts, inv. no. 09.1S338, Schr. 2324; and two reused leaves inserted into the manuscript codex Paris BnF, Ea 4 rés., Schr. 2302 and 2442). There are fragments of five typographic copies made up in the same way (formerly Braunau, Langer collection, text leaf only, printed on both sides of the paper; Dresden Kupferstichkab, Schr. 2253 and 2474; London BM (Prints & Drawings), formerly IA 15111, Schr. 2324; London BM (Prints & Drawings), formerly IA 15112, with 8 leaves listed by Dodgson, Catalogue, I 171–5, and BMC III 706; Weimar Schloßmuseum, Schr. 2395). The type of the German incunable editions, which is modelled on that used by Gutenberg for the 36–line and 42–line Bibles, is attributed to the Printer of the 1462 Almanac (see GW 1287, now in Princeton, Scheide Library) and datable c.1460/1. Ulrich Han and Johannes Numeister have been thought likely candidates for identification with the printer (see Geldner). In addition to the fragments, there is the complete incunable edition of the Leiden Christi, as described by Stöger, in Munich BSB, 8o Inc. s.a. 104m (Cim. 62b/1, BSB-Ink L-94), which has the full cycle of 20 illustrations and is bound together with the Sieben Freuden Mariae, an exactly comparable illustrated prayer cycle made up in the same way consisting of eight otherwise unattested metalcuts and their texts and printed with a different state of the same type (BSB-Ink S-379; see Schr. 2181). In the Munich volume the illustrations are printed back to back, as is the case with the Bodleian leaves, and interleaved with separately printed pages of text. The Braunau leaf, for which see Haebler, Leiden Christi, pl. VI ills 17–18, must derive from a copy constructed in the same way. A further development in the use of the Passion cycle was the production of an Italian vernacular edition, known only from the so-called ‘Rosenthal fragments’ now in New Orleans, Edward Alexander Parsons Library, designed as a cycle of 16 illustrations to be printed back to back and assembled with interleaved typographic text leaves, attributable to a printer schooled in the tradition of Gutenberg’s workshop and arguably datable not much later than 1462. The Italian type is related to that used at a later date for Ulrich Han’s edition of Johannes de Turrecremata, Meditationes (Rome, 31 Dec. 1467, HC 15722). The date of the Rosenthal fragments, which would appear to be the earliest surviving example of Italian vernacular printing, and their origin (Germany? Italy? Foligno? Bologna/Piacenza?) are the subject of controversy between Haebler, Donati, Wehmer, and Geldner. It is in this context, as Field has suggested, that the Bodleian leaves, one of the earliest printed items in the library’s collections, need to be seen (see below).

refs. F. X. Stöger, Zwei der ältesten deutschen Druckdenkmäler (Munich, 1833); W. H. Willshire, A Descriptive Catalogue of Early Prints in the British Museum. Vol. 1: German and Flemish Schools (London, 1879), 68–75; Weigel–Zestermann II 242–54 no. 338; Schreiber, Manuel, III 109–10; Dodgson, Catalogue, I 171–5; Stix 5–8 nos 33–50; Schreiber, Meister der Metallschneidekunst, 18–19; Haebler, Leiden Christi, passim; Schreiber, Handbuch, V 117 no. 2500, with cross-references; Dodgson, Prints in the Dotted Manner, 18–20 nos 50–58; L. Donati, ‘Passio Domini nostri Iesu Christi. Frammento tipografico della Biblioteca Parsoniana’, Bibliofilia, 56 (1954), 181–215; C. Wehmer, ‘Vdalricus Gallus de Bienna. Notizen zu einem Aufsatz von Lamberto Donati’, in Contributi alla storia del libro italiano. Miscellanea in onore di Lamberto Donati, Biblioteca de bibliografia italiana, 57 (Florence, 1969), 325–57; F. Geldner, ‘Zum frühsten deutschen und italienischen Buchdruck (Mainz--Baiern--Foligno. Johannes Neumeister und Ulrich Han?)’, Gb Jb (1979), 18–38; Field, ‘Art Institute’; Baurmeister 54; Fleischmann, Metallschnitt, 130–8; P. Schmidt, ‘Rhin supérieur ou Bavière? Localisation et mobilité des gravures au milieu du XVe siècle’, Revue de l’art, 120 (1998), 68–88, at 81–3; R. Cermann, in H. Frühmorgen-Voss, continued by N. H. Ott and U. Bodemann, Katalog der deutschsprachigen illustrierten Handschriften des Mittelalters, vol. 5 part 1/2 (Munich, 2002), 50–3 no. 43.1.16; Cermann, in Aderlass und Seelentrost, 275–7; Schmidt, Gedruckte Bilder, 273–92; Griese (in preparation).

copy One eighth of a chancery sheet. 101 × 75 mm (metalcuts 101 × 75 mm). Chain-lines vertical. No watermark visible. Printed in black ink in a press on both sides of the paper. Coloured in green, blue, brown, and yellow. Cropped close to the printed area. Schr. 2232 is represented here by an intermediate state of the plate, lacking two nail marks that are clearly visible on the later impression in Munich (Haebler, Leiden Christi, 24). This leaf, together with XYL-1.2, was removed in Feb. 1887 from a small-format Greek book of hours printed in median 16o (113 × 85 mm) by Aldus Manutius in Venice in 1497 (Auct. 1R. 5.34; H-169), where it was pasted inside the upper board of a contemporary Italian blind-tooled brown leather binding (with Schr. 2232 uppermost). The pastedowns to which the metalcuts were affixed are completely blank, but the blind impression of handwriting on the upper flyleaf, facing the pastedown, indicates that a leaf with written text has been removed. Handwritten notes by E. W. B. Nicholson (1849–1912) on both pastedowns record the removal of the metalcut leaves; see also the corresponding statement in his catalogue.

 The printing of the illustrations back to back, suggesting that the text was to be interleaved or – very much less likely – that this was a picture cycle without text, is only otherwise attested in the complete copy of the Leiden Christi in Munich, which has German text, and in the Rosenthal fragments in New Orleans, which have Italian text. In view of their provenance, having been extracted from the Italian binding of an incunable printed in Venice, it seems most probable that the Bodleian leaves are fragments of the Italian incunable edition. This is corroborated by the printing of Schr. 2424 and 2376 back to back, as in the Italian edition, where they appear to have constituted nos 12 and 13 in a cycle of 16, whereas in the Munich Leiden Christi these illustrations are printed on different leaves and constitute nos 15 and 16 (fols 24v and 26r) of a cycle of 20 images (see Cermann, in: Frühmorgen-Voss and others, 51). Haebler’s observation that the Bodleian impression of Schr. 2232 represents an earlier state of the plate than the German edition in Munich and the similarity of the colouring, if this can be accorded evidential value, to that found in the German copies are grounds for supposing that the printing may have been executed by a German printer in Germany. The priority of the Bodleian impression is also an argument for a relatively early date for the Italian edition. Haebler, Leiden Christi, 39 describes this leaf as representing a ‘5th edition (?)’ of the metalcut Passion cycle.

refs. Schreiber, Manuel, III 19–20 and 23–4; Schreiber, Handbuch, V 24–5 and 29; Dodgson, Catalogue, I 172; Haebler, Leiden Christi, 22 n. 1, 24, 39; Field, ‘Art Institute’, 205; Nicholson nos 51–2. Schreiber’s manifestly incorrect account of the Bodleian leaves is repeated by Dodgson and only partially corrected by Haebler.

Binding: Mounted between glass plates and kept, together with XYL-1.2, in a dark blue case, made for the Bodleian and inscribed ‘early col. prints (munich passion series)’. 156 × 131 × 20 mm.

Provenance: The host volume was purchased by the Bodleian in 1840. See H-169. Former Bodleian shelfmark: Arch. G f.7(1). Formerly exhibited in one of the glass cases in the Arts End in Duke Humfrey’s Library, later in the Picture Gallery (Upper Reading Room), see Library Records d. 1570, fol. 6r [1919]; Library Records d. 1572, fol. 1r [1921]; Library Records d. 1571, fol. 18r [1925]; Library Records d. 1573, fol. 8r [1931].

shelfmark: Arch. G f.6.

XYL-1.2 Christ’s Descent into Hell; Resurrection of Christ

 [Southern Germany (Bavaria?), c.1455– 60]. Metalcuts (dotted prints) with Latin inscription.

 Schr. 2424. Christ’s Descent into Hell is printed on the recto. Christ, robed but revealing his wounds, and with the banner of victory over his left shoulder, stands on the broken gates of Hell and takes Adam by the right arm. Adam is standing inside the gabled entrance to Hell, which stands in flames. A second figure, wearing a hair shirt and thus identifiable as John the Baptist, kneels before him. Between them, to the left, stands Eve. To the left of the entrance two devils are to be seen, one standing above the other. The black background is ornamented with white arabesques and flowers. One of six recorded copies, the others in Berlin Kupferstichkab, London BM (Prints & Drawings), Munich BSB, Nuremberg GermNM, and Vienna Albertina.

ills. F. T. Schulz, Die Schrotblätter des Germanischen Nationalmuseums zu Nürnberg, Einblattdrucke des fünfzehnten Jahrhunderts, 13 (Strasbourg, 1908), pl. 8 (Nuremberg copy); Stix pl. VIII ill. 48 (Vienna copy); Dodgson, Prints in the Dotted Manner, I pl. XIII ill. 55 (London copy); Fleischmann, Metallschnitt, pl. 44 (Nuremberg copy).

 Schr. 2376. The Resurrection of Christ is printed on the verso. Christ, partly clothed with a cloak and raising the banner of victory in his left hand, rises with one foot stepping out of the tomb, which occupies the centre of the picture and is ornamented with a frieze of triangles and trefoils. In the foreground, to the left, lies a sleeping warrior with his halberd, and to the right a sleeping watchman, whose long naked sword has fallen to the ground. In the background, to the left, a mountain from which rise four trees. Here too the black background is ornamented with white arabesques and flowers. Thought by Lehrs to be copied, in reverse, omitting the angel and the third watchman, from an engraving by the Master of the Playing Cards or his school (Lehrs I 157 no. 10). One of six recorded copies, the others in Berlin Kupferstichkab, London BM (Prints & Drawings), Munich BSB, Nuremberg GermNM, and Vienna Albertina.

ills. R. Muther, Die deutsche Bücherillustration der Gothik und Frührenaissance (1460–1530) (Munich and Leipzig, 1884), II 1 (Munich copy); Schulz pl. 7 (Nuremberg copy); Stix pl. VIII ill. 44 (Vienna copy); Fleischmann, Metallschnitt, pl. 43 (Nuremberg copy); Bodleian Filmstrip Roll 245, no. 14.

copy One eighth of a chancery sheet. 103 × 75 mm (metalcuts 101 × 75 mm). Chain-lines vertical. No watermark visible. Printed in black ink in a press on both sides of the paper. Coloured in green, blue, brown, and yellow. Cropped close to the printed area. Schr. 2376 represents the third state of this plate, as described by Schreiber, in which the lower part of the tomb and areas of the background have been effaced, and with the heads of nails in black in the four corners, as also attested in the Munich printed edition and in the individual leaf in London. Haebler, Leiden Christi, 38 (no. A.6) incorrectly describes the Bodleian leaf as an impression of Schr. 2376 printed on one side of the paper.

refs. Lehrs I 157–8 no. 10a; Schreiber, Manuel, III 65; Schreiber, Handbuch, V 74–5 and 91; Dodgson, Catalogue, I 172; Haebler, Leiden Christi, 22 n. 1, 38; Field, ‘Art Institute’, 205; Nicholson nos 65–6.

Binding: As XYL-1.1.

Provenance: Removed in 1887 from the same volume as XYL-1.1, where this leaf was pasted inside the lower board (with Schr. 2376 uppermost). It is reported in its original state by Nicholson. Former Bodleian shelfmark: Arch. G f.7(1). Formerly exhibited together with XYL-1.1.

shelfmark: Arch. G f.7.