Graham York Rare Books
Stand
09

Johann Joachim Winckelmann.

DESCRIPTION DES PIERRES GRAVÉES DU FEU BARON STOSCH DÉDIÉE A SON ÉMINENCE MONSEIGNEUR LE CARDINAL ALEXANDRE ALBANI.

THE FATHER OF ARCHAEOLOGY

Johann Joachim Winckelmann.

DESCRIPTION DES PIERRES GRAVÉES DU FEU BARON STOSCH DÉDIÉE A SON ÉMINENCE MONSEIGNEUR LE CARDINAL ALEXANDRE ALBANI. Florence, André Bonducci 1760

Description

pp (ix manuscript), (viii), xxxii, 596, (xxxi corrections), two engraved plates by I. A. Schweickart.
With a 9 page manuscript copy of an essay by Winckelmann bound in before the printed text.
Two versions were printed, one unillustrated and one deluxe edition with a portrait of Stosch and eleven of Schweickart's engravings of the gems. Several copies of the printed work can be found in institutions, some with, some and without engravings, but both rarely appear on the market (Brunet).

Bibliography

See "Winckelmann: Writings on Art." Selected and Edited by David Irwin, Phaidon 1972.
"Winckelmann" by Wolfgang Leppmann, Alfred Knopf, 1970.
"Johann Joachim Winckelmann on Art, Architecture, and Archaeology" by David R. Carter, 2013, Camden House.
"Winckelmann and the Invention of Antiquity: History and Aesthetics in the Age of Altertumswissenschaft."
by Katherine Harloe, Oxford, 2013.
"Ma passion... ma folie dominante; Stosch, Winckelmann, and the Allure of the Engraved Gems of the Ancients" by Ulf R. Hansson, Luglio, 2014

Footnote

Johan Joachim Winckelmann (1717-1768), born in Stendal, west of Berlin, murdered in Trieste; a key figure in the eighteenth century knowledge and interpretation of the history of classical art. Indeed Winckelmann was significant as the forerunner of modern art historians, recounting the art of past cultures not merely as a chronological series of events or artists' lives, but in terms of evolving styles. He was a great friend of the painter Anton Raphael Mengs (1728–79), who painted his portrait, and with whom he enjoyed a flamboyant relationship and lived for a time in Rome.
His writings influenced not only a new science of archaeology and art history but Western painting, sculpture, literature and even philosophy, and he was highly praised by Goethe and other writers and artists.
Winckelmann's History of Ancient Art (1764) was one of the first books written in German to become a classic of European literature.

Before Winckelmann's time archaeology did not exist even as a concept, let alone as a science. Greek and Roman antiquities were simply appropriated from ancient sites by the rich and powerful of Europe. Winckelmann spent several months touring the sites and collections in Naples and Herculaneum, as well as the temples at Paestum, and his stature as an archaeologist was rewarded in 1763 when he was appointed prefect of antiquities at the Vatican. Within a year or two his standing as a guide had become such that a conducted tour with Winckelmann formed the high point of many a sovereign's visit to Rome.

Winckelmann's first detailed, scholarly book was published in Florence in 1760; his catalogue of the collection of gems assembled by Baron Stosch - one of the most important and representative groups at the time of antique engraved gems.
The catalogue, "Description des Pierres Gravees du feu Baron de Stosch", dedicated to his patron Cardinal Albani, was published in the hope of finding a purchaser for the entire collection, and eventually the majority of this collection was purchased by Frederick the Great.
Winckelmann set new standards for research into the history of antique precious stones: he described them precisely, organized them according to their style, and provided interpretations of the mythological motifs engraved on them.

The manuscript "Nachrichten von dem beruhmten Stoschischen Museo in Florenz, an den Herrn Legationsrath von Hagedorn...", was one of a number of essays Winckelmann wrote for the "Bibliothek der Schonen Wissenschaften und der Freien Kunste", edited by Christian Felix Weisse, Leipzig, 1759. It was later published in "Johan Winckelmann's Samtliche Werke", volume 1, "Kleinere Auflage uber Gegenstande der Alten Kunst, 1756-59" edited by Joseph Eiselein, published Donauoschingen, 1825, p 274-283.

In the Nachrichten he refers to his "Description..." in progress and mentions the two gems,"die seltensten", illustrated in the book, as together encompassing "the entire system of Estruscans' art". The Tydeus gem and its more famous partner, the Stosch gem, or the "Five Heroes before Thebes", as Winckelmann called it, is the oldest extant work of Etruscan art, and a candidate for the oldest surviving masterpiece of all art.

Current Condition

Watermark affecting the last few pages.

Price

£2500.00