Item #010248 1520 - Leaf from Sebastian Brant's Daß Narrenschyff ad Narragoniam (Nauis Stultifera Collectanea or The Ship of Fools) illustrated by an Albrecht Durer woodcut. Sebastian Brant, Albrecht Durer.
1520 - Leaf from Sebastian Brant's Daß Narrenschyff ad Narragoniam (Nauis Stultifera Collectanea or The Ship of Fools) illustrated by an Albrecht Durer woodcut

1520 - Leaf from Sebastian Brant's Daß Narrenschyff ad Narragoniam (Nauis Stultifera Collectanea or The Ship of Fools) illustrated by an Albrecht Durer woodcut

Basel. Switzerland: Michael Furter, 1520. Disbound. The Ship of Fools, first published in 1494 in Basel, Switzerland by Sebastian Brant, was printed by Michael Furter and illustrated by woodcuts from Albrecht Durer. 13 editions were published between 1494 and 1521 (six authorized and seven pirated). The book, 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, was one of the most popular works during the early years of printing, 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.

This leaf (7½” x 11”) is from Furter’s 1520 edition titled, Des hochwirdigen Doctor Keiserspergs narenschiff : so er gepredigt hat zü Strassburg in der hohen stifft . . . darin vil weissheit ist zü lerne. (The high-ranking Doctor Keiserperg’s ship of fools as he preached from the high steeple in Strasbourg . . . there is a lot of wisdom to be learned from it).

Its woodcut, titled “Dist wen narren/die da wenen sie seiet wizig un seint es nit (These are fools/those where they are wise and also not”), uses a visual interpretation of the Greek myth of Apollo and Marsyas to demonstrate the folly of hubris. In the myth, Marsayas, an expert musician with a double-reed woodwind something like a bagpipe, challenges Apollo, an accomplished lyrist to a musical duel with the winner being allowed to do whatever he chose to the loser. After bringing Marsayas to his hubris-filled defeat, Apollo has him chained to a tree and flayed alive.

In this gruesome woodcut, Durer’s hubris-afflicted fool is strapped to a wooden plank, and two men gleefully begin to strip the flesh from his body as townspeople enjoy the spectacle. The victim’s bagpipes rest under the table. In Brant’s view, as depicted by Durer, the presumptuous are doomed to a humiliating and painful failure.

. Very good. Item #010248

A very nice example of one of Dürer's earliest original woodcut designs, probably recut for this edition by another craftsmen. As in all of Durer’s NNarrenchiff woodcuts, his fools always wear cowls with ass-ears and a coxcomb of bells (a convention that Dürer established).

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Price: $250.00