A rare set of thirty colored woodcuts with decorative borders printed in 1557 by woodblock cutter and publisher David de Negker. The volume from which these woodcuts are taken was published in Augsburg as Passional des gantzen bittern leiden und sterben unnsers Herren unnd Saeligmachers Jhesu Christi…, comprising thirty-two woodcuts. Two woodcuts are lacking from the present set (E i and E vi), as are the title page and five pages of text. The prints include scenes from the life and passion of Christ, many directly modeled after Albrecht Dürer’s Small Passion, but here inverted. David was the son of Jost de Negker, a woodblock cutter (formscheider) and well-documented innovator of colored woodblock printing. The blocks from which the present series were printed might have been inherited by David after his father’s death; the same elaborate borders were used to frame a series of woodcuts for a Women’s Wile (Weiberlisten) volume, with prints designed by Hans Burgkmair and borders by Hans Weiditz the Younger, dated to around 1522-36 (cf. impression at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 20.64.23, recorded as Hollstein V.29.2iia; Bartsch VII.201.5; Dodgson II.101.169).

The reverse of each sheet is printed with text with a decorative border inhabited by birds and animals. Only two copies of the Passional are recorded: a bound copy in at the Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel, and a bound copy at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich (Res/4 Asc. 1252 q; acquired in 2012). No monograms or initials apparent. All thirty impressions in remarkably good condition, with some staining to the edges of each sheet, and small holes in the lower quadrant of all (remnants of worming).


For reference to David de Negker as publisher, see David Landau and Peter Parshall, The Renaissance Print, 1996, p. 202; Friedrich Roth, “Zur Lebensgeschichte des Augsburger Formschneiders David Denecker und seines Freundes, des Dichters Martin Schrot,” Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte 9 (1912): 189-230.; on the borders, attributed to Hans Weiditz the Younger, see Falk, Biedermann, and Geissler, Hans Burgkmair, Das Graphische Werk, 1973, no. 117 (ill. 85), no. 113, and no. 119.

Online resources:

Bayerische Staats Bibliothek, Res/4 Asc. 1252 q


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