Paris: Jodocus Badius Ascensius (Josse Badius), 1505. Leaf. The leaf is approximately 5.25" x 8". Each woodcut is approximately 85 x 115 mm. The woodcuts have dark, crisp impressions. The leaf has some minor marginal toning.
It is a very nice example of one of Dürer's earliest woodcut designs. Thirteen editions were published between 1494 and 1521 (six authorized and seven pirated). Leaves from these editions are very easily confused and many later printings are often listed as firsts; in all but the very first edition, the woodcuts were done by other craftsmen based on Dürer's original designs.
This leaf is from the second Latin edition. It contains two woodcuts (most leaves only have one) featuring Dürer's fools, who always wear cowls with ass-ears and a coxcomb of bells (a convention Dürer established). The first woodcut, "The Teaching of Wisdom," illustrates both wise men and fools reacting to a sermon. The reverse, "Stroking a Fallow Stallion," is depiction of a fool being trampled by a horse he feigned to respect which symbolizers the ultimate fate of false flatters. Very Good. Item #008110
One of the most famous and popular works during the early years of printing, The Ship of Fools was a satire on the many then current ecclesiastical abuses as exemplified by Brant's imaginary character, Saint Grobian, the patron saint of vulgarity and coarse manners. A substantial part of The Ship of Fools' popularity was no doubt due to its marvelous woodcut illustrations, most of which were created by Albrecht Dürer, then a young journeyman woodcut designer working in Basel. Art historians not that his work in these woodcuts, Dürer's first significant commissioned effort, is not as impressive as his later efforts as a master in Nuremberg; e.g., the hatching consists of only simple parallel lines and contours are crude, thick, and without much variation. Still, they are superior to other illustrations in the book designed by an assortment of masters.