Destruction of Jerusalem – a relief wood cut taken out of Liber Chronicarum, The Nuremberg Chronicle (author, Hartman Schedel; illustrators, Michael Wolgemuth and Wilhelm Pleydenwurff with contributions attributed to Albrecht Dürer; and publisher, Anton Koberger; Nuremberg, 1493.)
Koberger published the Nuremberg Chronicle only a few months after Columbus had first returned from the new world and five years before the expulsion of the Jews from Nuremberg. There were an estimated 2500 copies of the Chronicle, with 1500 in Latin and 1000 in German. This publication has been described as, “one of the great works in graphic arts of the fifteenth century.” Chronicles of this type were not uncommon during the Renaissance. The historical text would start at the beginning of the world (as related in Genesis), continue through a history heavily influenced by the Old and New Testaments, proceed up to the date of publication, and end with a narrative about the city, state, etc. of the publisher and/or author.
This particular image, which comes from the Latin version of the publication, depicts the destructions of the city of Jerusalem. While one of the first printed depictions of Jerusalem, there was an earlier and more accurate image in Breydenbach’s publication on his pilgrimage to the Holy Land. This print is primarily a fantasy of the Temple undergoing the destructions described in the accompanying text. Nonetheless, some reasonable image of Jerusalem must have served as the basis of this version, since the view is obviously taken from the Mount of Olives and the Golden Gate, for example, is in its approximately proper place. Of some interest is that with the city walls and towers in ruin in the background and Solomon’s Temple engulfed in flames, some residents appear to be engaged in normal business in the foreground.
The relief print is in very good condition considering that these prints are over 500 years old. There is a fold with staining running down the center where the page was folded into the book; additional faint stains one of which runs into the image in the lower left corner; and general handling creases. The center fold also has a slight separation at the bottom and a few small losses due to the stitching. The image (excluding text) size is roughly 10″ x 21″ and the page size 17″ x 24″.
This is one of the major leaves in one of the most important texts of the 15th c and a marvelous image in its own right.
We ship this print flat in an acid free mat.