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Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717-68)

"The father of modern archaeology"   

Monumenti antichi inediti, spiegati ed illustrati
(Unpublished ancient Monuments, explained and illustrated)

1767 First edition,
illustrated with 208 beautiful copper-plate engravings and numerous in-text illustrations and vignettes

"Winckelmann, by the contemplation of the ideal works of the ancients, received a sort of inspiration, through which he opened a new sense for the study of art. He is to be regarded as one of those who, in the sphere of art, have known how to initiate a new organ for the human spirit." 

--Hegel, Philosophy of Art

 

Winckelmann is best known for his monumental Geschichte der Kunst des Altertums (History of the Art of Antiquity, 1764), which enjoyed tremendous popular success and permanently reshaped aesthetic criticism. The Monuments, his last published work, stands by itself as "a masterpiece of interpretation and explanation" and "a pioneering work in the field of archaeological methodology" (Catholic Encyclopedia; Lappmann).  Significantly, it is also the only one of Winckelmann's works published in his lifetime to be extensively illustrated. 

 

"In the days before photography and mass tourism, when only a few readers could be expected to have actually seen a Greek or Roman work, engravings were of course an integral part of such work. Those in the Monuments were done by Giovanni Battista Casanova, a brother of the celebrated Giacomo, and according to Winckelmann 'the greatest draftsman in Rome'."  --Lappmann, Winckelmann

For more images:

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WINCKELMANN, Johnann Joachim. Monumenti Antichi Inediti Spiegati ed Illustrata. Rome: published by the author, 1767. Folio, contemporary vellum with original red leather label, decorated endpapers. Two volumes in one. Text in Italian. Bookplates. Light wear to binding, very small library number on dedication leaf, small tear to endpaper. Occasional light foxing. Plates very clean. A very handsome, wide-margined copy in contemporary vellum of the beautifully-illustrated first edition. $3200.

 

What does Samuel Johnson have to say about sculpture versus painting?

 

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