AMMAN, Jost. Icones Novi Testamenti. Arte et industria singulari experimentes, tum evangeliorum dominicalium argumenta. Frankfurt. Martin Lechler for Jérôme Feyerabend. 1571. Oblong small 4to [208 x 158 mm], of 10 preliminary leaves, 93 plates and 1 l. of mark. Bound in contemporary vellum.
First edition and first issue of this beautiful set of 93 woodcuts by Jost Amman, considered as his masterpiece and depicting the scenes of the New Testament. Several are signed with his monogram: IA. Andreas Andersen. Jost Amman, 1864, N° 184. Becker. Jost Amman, Leipzig, 1854, p. 12. All these fine woodcuts show the artist’s skill who establishes his elegant characters in realistic scenes in front of steep landscapes containing numerous details or architectural perspectives of real interest. The dedication of the editor Feyerabend tells us about the value confered upon the artists by their contemporaries. Thus Conrad Gessner and Pierre Belon are appreciated for their animal and plant figures; Dürer is considered as a great precursor, followed by Christophe Amberger, Hans Bocksberger (who engraved several plates of this set), Virgil Solis, Lucas Cranach and last but not least, Jost Amman himself.
“Like his great German predecessors, the Dürers, the Aldegrevers, the Behams, Jost Amman (1539-1591) especially focused his artistic effort on engraved expression.He came to settle in Nuremberg in 1560 and continued with honour, until the end of his life, in this town, the tradition of the great artists that had preceded him. His success was considerable. He engraved with equal authority on copper and on wood and showed remarkable qualities of line and composition in his works. Benezit, I, 159. This set is exceedingly rare. It is unknown to Bartsch, and is missing in Fairfax-Murray, German books. L’Index Aureliensis (I, Vol. 3, N° 104-810) lists only 4 copies (Paris, London, Munich, Vienna) among the very numerous libraries listed. No copy appeared at auction in the last 20 years.