Pages

Monday, May 19, 2014

Pearls of Wisdom


Urs Graf ca. 1485–1529/30 
Title page of Margarita Philosophica
From Gregorius Reisch 1467 - 1525, Margarita Philosophica
Printer: Johann Schott ( 1477–1548)
March-April 1504
22.5 x 15.5 x 7 cm
Printed: Straßburg
Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich



Urs Graf ca. 1485–1529/30 
Typus Geometrie
From Gregorius Reisch 1467 - 1525, Margarita Philosophica
Printer: Johann Schott ( 1477–1548)
March-April 1504
22.5 x 15.5 x 7 cm
Printed: Straßburg
Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich



Urs Graf ca. 1485–1529/30 
Typus Musice
From Gregorius Reisch 1467 - 1525, Margarita Philosophica
Printer: Johann Schott ( 1477–1548)
March-April 1504
22.5 x 15.5 x 7 cm
Printed: Straßburg
Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich



Urs Graf ca. 1485–1529/30 
The Eye: Animae Sensititivae
From Gregorius Reisch 1467 - 1525, Margarita Philosophica
Printer: Johann Schott ( 1477–1548)
March-April 1504
22.5 x 15.5 x 7 cm
Printed: Straßburg
Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich


Gregor Reisch (Gregorius Reisch) 1467 - 1525 graduated from the University of Freiburg in 1489

He joined the Carthusian Order in 1496

He became the prior of the Carthusian monastery in Johannisberg in 1501


It was completed in 1496

It is the first philosophical encyclopedia of science in the German language. It  was in the 16th century the key textbook in the German universities and used up until well into the 17th century.It was repeatedly reissued and in 1599  it was also translated into Italian.

A humanist he brought Realism into Scholasticism

He corresponded with Erasmus and other great figures of the Humanist Renaissance

See Andrew Cunningham and Sachiko Kusukawa, Natural philosophy epitomised: a translation of books 8-11 of Gregor Reisch's philosophical pearl (1503) (Ashgate 2010)

As regards the title page,  in the centre of the picture is a crowned 3-headed winged female figure holding an open book and sceptre. 

At the top of the page above the central female figure  is Theology. 

Theology is represented by the four great Doctors of the Church: St Augustine and St Gregory, and then on the right, St Jerome and St Ambrose 

Surrounding the central female figure are seven female figures representing the seven liberal arts holding emblems relating to those arts. 

In the bottom corners of the picture are two eminent philosophers - Aristotle (Natural Philosophy) and Seneca (Moral Philosophy). 

The names of the sciences are written in the circle, that is, Grammar, Dialectic, Rhetoric, Arithmetic, Music, Geometry, Astronomy, Principles of Natural Philosophy, Origin of Natural Objects, Psychology, Logic and Ethics.


The illustrator Urs Graf ca. 1485–1529/30  also merits mention

A Swiss swashbuckler of great talent and versatility

Larger than life

A veritable Cellini. Although probably Graf did what was only in Cellini`s imagination

When he was not in prison or being a mercenary or out on the town, Graf produced a remarkable corpus of work

He was the first artist to produce an etching (on an iron plate). Along with Durer he was also the first artist to use pen and ink for completed drawings

It has been said of him that 
"He treated the world in which he lived with irreverent wit, tking as his themes topics such as the life of the mercenaries, erotic experience (especially  prostitutes) and the vain aspiration to pious virtue. Next to the vanity and folly of human, he also depicted  mythological and religious themes, using different means of expression."

Graf also produced the illustrations for another work of Rausch: an edition of Statua ordinis cartusiensis (1510) 

This compendium of the statues of the Carthusian Order (edited by Rausch) was printed at the expense of the Carthusian monastery of St. John the Baptist in Freiburg im Breisgau