Holbein's woodcuts Published in Books

Editions

The following is a fairly complete list over book publications of Holbein's original woodcuts.

The Trechsel Brothers' printer's mark
Trechsel, printer's mark
  1. 1538: »Les Simulachres & historiées faces de la Mort, autant elegamment pourtraictes, que artificiellement imaginées«. Published by Melchior and Caspar Trechsel for Frellon in Lyon

    The first edition with 41 woodcuts.

  2. 1542: »Imagines de Morte et Epigrammata e Gallico idiomate a Georgio Aemylio in Latinum translata«
    Published by Jan and Francois Frellon in Lyon, who are responsible for the following publications.
  3. 1542: »Les Simulachres et historiées Faces De La Mort, contenant la Medecine de l'ame, utile et necessaire non seulement aux malades […]«
  4. 1545: »Imagines Mortis. His accesserunt, Epigrammata, è Gallico idiomate à Georgio Æmylio in Latinum translata.«

    Translated into Latin by Georg Aemilius. This edition has 42 woodcuts, since the beggar has been added. The beggar has nothing to do with the rest of the dance but appears in a different section of the book.

  5. 1547: »Imagines Mortis. Duodecim imaginibus prater priores, totidemque inscriptionibus prater epigrammata e Gallicis a Georgio Æmylio in Latinum versa, [. . .]«

    Now there are 53 woodcuts and the beggar has become an integrated part of the series.

    The Frellon Brothers' printer's mark
    Frellon, printer's mark
  6. 1547: »Icones Mortis, Duodecim imaginibus prater priores, […] Excudebat Johannes Frellonius«

    (same as the previous one, but with a different title)

  7. 1547: »Les Images de la Mort. Auxquelles sont adjoustées douze figures. […]«

    This edition has verses for the 12 extra pictures (»douze figures«).

  8. 1549: »Simolachri historie, e figure de la morte. La medicina de L'anima. […]«

    Italian version with 53 woodcuts.

  9. 1554: »Icones Mortis. Duodecim Imaginibus praeter priores, totidemque inscriptionibus, […] Basileae«

    The title claims that this edition was printed in Basel, but doesn't specify which publisher/printing house. The question is whether the woodcuts were really sent to Basel and back, or if the place of printing was forged in order to avoid censure.

    De Doodt Vermaskert.
    De Doodt Vermaskert
  10. 1562: »Les Images de la Mort, auxquelles sont adjoustees dix sept figures. […] A Lyon, par Jehan Frellon«

    Once again printed by The Frellon Brothers in Lyon. This time there are 5 more woodcuts — or as the sub-title says: 17 ("dix sept") more than in the first edition. From now on, no dancers are added.

  11. 1574: »Imagines Mortis : item epigrammata è Gall. à G. Æmilio in Latinum versa. Lugdun. Frellonius«
  12. 1654: »De Doodt vermaskert met des werelts ydelheyt afghedaen door G. V. Wolsschaten, Verciert met de constighe belden van den vermaerden schilder Hans Holbeen.« Antwerp

    A Dutch language book with 15 good copies of Holbein's original woodcuts. Some experts consider them to be genuine, but I don't believe that (any longer).

External links

The original woodcuts are incredibly detailed
Holbein: Creation (detail)
The original woodcuts are incredibly detailed
Holbein: The emperor (detail)

F inding Holbein on the Net is easy, but in the majority of cases the "genuine" Holbein woodcuts turns out to be the copies produced by Douce in 1833 (or rather: 1858). All their qualities untold they are still copies with inevitable differences — particularly in the facial expressions. Finding genuine Holbein is a great deal more difficult.

The Internet Archive and other collections offer scans of various photographic reprints from the 1800's. While they are not bad, the photo-technique of the 19th century leaves something to be desired; Google Books has many of the same boks, but the books are badly scanned; Bibliothèque nationale de France has scanned the original books directly, but many of their scans are so bad they make your eyes hurt.

Creation
Holbein 1538: Creation
The Fall
Holbein 1538: The Fall
Expulsion
Holbein 1538: Expulsion
After the Fall
Holbein 1538: After the Fall
Bones of All Men
Holbein 1538: Bones of All Men
The Pope
Holbein 1538: The Pope
Emperor
Holbein 1538: Emperor
King
Holbein 1538: King
Cardinal
Holbein 1538: Cardinal
Empress
Holbein 1538: Empress
Queen
Holbein 1538: Queen
Bishop
Holbein 1538: Bishop
Duke
Holbein 1538: Duke
Abbot
Holbein 1538: Abbot
Abbess
Holbein 1538: Abbess
Nobleman
Holbein 1538: Nobleman
Canon
Holbein 1538: Canon
Judge
Holbein 1538: Judge
Lawyer
Holbein 1538: Lawyer
Senator
Holbein 1538: Senator
Preacher
Holbein 1538: Preacher
Priest
Holbein 1538: Priest
Monk
Holbein 1538: Monk
Nun
Holbein 1538: Nun
Old woman
Holbein 1538: Old woman
Physician
Holbein 1538: Physician
Astrologer
Holbein 1538: Astrologer
Rich man
Holbein 1538: Rich man
Merchant
Holbein 1538: Merchant
Sailor
Holbein 1538: Sailor
Knight
Holbein 1538: Knight
Count
Holbein 1538: Count
Old man
Holbein 1538: Old man
Countess
Holbein 1538: Countess
Noblewoman
Holbein 1538: Noblewoman
Duchess
Holbein 1538: Duchess
Peddler
Holbein 1538: Peddler
Peasant
Holbein 1538: Peasant
Child
Holbein 1538: Child
Judgement Day
Holbein 1538: Judgement Day
The escutcheon
Holbein 1538: The escutcheon
Soldier
Holbein 1538: Soldier
Waggoner
Holbein 1538: Waggoner
Gambler
Holbein 1538: Gambler
Robber
Holbein 1538: Robber
Blind man
Holbein 1538: Blind man
Beggar
Holbein 1538: Beggar
Drunkard
Holbein 1538: Drunkard
Fool
Holbein 1538: Fool
Young woman
Holbein 1562: Young woman
Young man
Holbein 1562: Young man
Scabbard
Holbein : Scabbard
Scabbard
Holbein : Scabbard
Child
Holbein 1547: Child
Children
Holbein 1547: Children
Children
Holbein 1547: Children
Children
Holbein 1547: Children
Children
Holbein 1562: Children
Children
Holbein 1562: Children
Children
Holbein 1562: Children
Creation, 1547
Holbein 1547: Creation, 1547

Other interpreters of Holbein's dance of death

Trechsel, printer's mark, usus me genuit

Artists/publishers:

Hans Holbein (1526) - so-called proofs
→ Hans Holbein (1538) ←
Heinrich Aldegrever (1541)
Heinrich Vogtherr (1544)
Vincenzo Valgrisi (1545)
Arnold Birckmann (1555)
Juan de Icíar (1555)
Valentin Wagner (1557)
Georg Scharffenberg (1576)
Leonhart Straub (1581)
David Chytraeus (1590)
Peter Paul Rubens (ca. 1590)
Fabio Glissenti (1596)
Eberhard Kieser (1617)
Rudolf and Conrad Meyer (1650)
Wenceslaus Hollar (1651)
De doodt vermaskert (1654)
Thomas Neale (1657)
Johann Weichard von Valvasor (1682)
Salomon van Rusting (1707)
T. Nieuhoff Piccard (1720)
Christian de Mechel (1780)
David Deuchar (1788)
John Bewick (1789)
Alexander Anderson (1810)
Wenceslaus Hollar (1816)
Pseudo-Bewick (1825)
Ludwig Bechstein (1831)
Joseph Schlotthauer (1832)
Francis Douce (1833)
Carl Helmuth (1836)
Francis Douce (1858, 2. edition)
Henri Léon Curmer (1858)
Tindall Wildridge (1887)


Up to Holbein's great dance of death