Great Scenes from the Bible: 230 Magnificent 17th-Century Engravings (Dover Pictorial Archive)

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9780486420431: Great Scenes from the Bible: 230 Magnificent 17th-Century Engravings (Dover Pictorial Archive)

Swiss etcher and engraver Matthaeus Merian the Elder (to distinguish him from his son, Matthaeus Merian the Younger, a portrait and historical painter), was born in Basel in 1593. He studied in Zurich, Paris, Stuttgart, and the Netherlands, eventually settling in Frankfurt where he worked for the publisher Johann Theodor de Bry, whose daughter he later married. On the death of his father-in-law in 1623, Merian took over the publishing house, while continuing his own artistic efforts. Perhaps best known for his many detailed topographic prints of European cities, he also produced numerous engravings of battles and hunts, as well as such prints as Dance of Death, illustrations for Gottfried’s Chronik, and the series Theatrum Europaeum.
Among Merian's most notable accomplishments was the creation and publication of the Icones Biblicae (1625–1630), a monumental collection of engravings of scenes from the Bible, accompanied by descriptive texts in German, Latin and French. The present volume reproduces all 230 of these superb images, minus the accompanying texts, but with new titles for the plates, and citations of book, chapter and verse. Reminiscent of seventeenth-century European landscapes, and full of wonderful details of plants and animals, clothing, weapons, buildings, cities, and more, Merian's images retain a mood of piety, awe and reverence, while avoiding the saccharine and sentimental. Instead, the artist has given us honest, straightforward renderings of a host of memorable scenes and characters from both the Old and New Testaments, and the Apocrypha, that capture the high drama, heartrending tragedy, and transcendent religious experience of this most influential of books.
Remarkably detailed illustrations depict Adam and Eve Driven Out of the Garden of Eden, The Flood, David Slaying Goliath, Christ in the Manger, The Raising of Lazarus, The Crucifixion, and many other scenes. A wonderful pictorial dimension to age-old stories. All 230 plates from the classic 1625 edition.

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