Sacrarum antiquitatum monumenta, 1577

in The Plantin Press Online

(1,325 words)

Record ID cp012649
Voet reference number 1335
Museum Plantin-Moretus c:lvd:1100125
Title page transcription SACRARVM ‖ ANTIQVITATVM ‖ MONVMENTA; ‖ PATRIARCHARVM, REGVM, PRO- ‖ PHETARVM, & virorum verè illustrium ‖ veteris Testamenti, Imaginibus & Elogiis ‖ apparata atque inscripta: ‖ Auctore ‖ LVDOVICO HILLESSEMIO ‖ ANDERNACO. ‖ ⊕ 29 ‖ ANTVERPIÆ‖ Ex officina Christophori Plantini, ‖ Architypographi Regij; ‖ M.D.LXXVII.
Collation 8º (165 × 105): †⁸, A-F⁸; pages [1-16], 1-95, [96]
Number of sheets
Pages [1]: Title [2]: Privilege (Brussels, 20 August 1576, signed by Iac. Blyleven) [3-11]: Ad illustrissimum principem ac dominum, D. Albertum comitem Palatinum…Ludovici Hillessemii Andernaci praefatio (Andernach, 1574; marginals) [12-15]: Poems of Ioannes Latomus, Hieronymus Berchemius, and two by an unspecified author on the death of L. Hillessemius (roman type and italic type) [16]: Catalogus imaginum (on two columns) 1: Invocatio (italic type) 2: Votum auctoris (italic type); Note on the portrait 3: illustration (portrait of the author) 4-95: Text (italic type, parts and marginals in roman type) 95: approbation (s. Walterus vander Steeghen, Antwerp) [96]: Blank
Edition information
Illustrations 40 copper engravings: 1) Portrait of the author, 130 × 90, on page 3 2) 39 representations of personages of the Old Testament (their names engraved on the plates), c. 117 × c. 76, some with the monograms or the names of the designers Crispijn van den Broeck (pages 4, 8, 30, 60) and Pieter van der Borcht (pages 14, 44), and of the engraver Jan Sadeler (pages 4, 6, 8, 10, 14, 24, 30, 60, 78, 80). One dated 1575 (page 8). The illustration on page 44 (Nathan), with the monogram of Pieter van der Borcht, is not a burin engraving but an engraving in a somewhat different style, very likely executed by Van der Borcht himself. The plate on page 64 bears the name Heliseus but is reproduced in the paragraph on Hieremias. N.B.: According to Schwab, page 89, n. 2, the ills, of Adam (page 4), Moses (page 26), and Nathan (page 44), bear the monograms of Pieter van der Borcht and the engraver Abraham de Bruyn. In the Museum Plantin-Moretus-copy the plate with Nathan shows only the monogram of Van der Borcht, the Adam-plate has very clearly 'Johan.Saedeler fe.', whilst the Moses-plate has no monogram at all. There is no evidence that A. de Bruyn worked on these illustrations
Copies Museum Plantin-Moretus- A 116KBR Royal Library of BelgiumCambridgeGhent University LibraryBritish Library LondonBibliothèque nationale de France
Bibliographical references Ruelens-de Backer, page 181 (1577, no. 11) Schwab, pages 78-90 Bib. catholica Neerlandica impressa, no. 3616 Praz, M. Seventeenth-Century Imagery, page 369
Online bibliographical references
Note 1 Contains: a) Collection of representations of personages of the Old Testament (on the even pages) with an accompanying Latin poem (on the uneven pages) (pages 4-81); b) Poem 'Deo omnipotente sacrum' (pages 82-84); c) 'Ex libro ecclesiastico Iesu filii Syrach': extracts praising Old Testament personages (pages 85-93). Details in Schwab, pages 84 ff.
Note 2 Joannes Rethius, a Jesuit at Cologne, acted as middleman between the author and the Plantin Press. In a letter of 24 April 1574 he tells Hillessemius that he has taken up the matter of the illustrations with Plantin ('De imaginibus virorum illustrium veteris testamenti carmine per te explicatis agam cum Christophoro Plantino, quo nullus ad excudendum talia aptior': Schwab, pages 132-133). This implies that between Rethius and the printer there had been previous contacts. On 14 June 1574 Rethius wrote to Plantin that he had mailed part of the 'monumentorum sacrarum antiquitatum d. Ludovici Hillessemii' to make it possible for Plantin to judge the content. If Plantin, or Franciscus Raphelengius and other advisors of the printer, found it interesting enough, he would send the remaining part. However, the author wanted to see the illustrations before they were laid on the presses. And, continues Rethius, please warn your engravers that lascivious representations are out of the question ('…praeterea ut formarum sculptorem admoneas, ne inter sculpendum manum lascivire permittat. Nam id genus artificum nostro praesertim corruptissimo seculo etiam sacris iconibus nescio quid turpitudinis nonnunquam affingere solet, quod castos oculos non leviter sane offendit': Corr., IV, no. 536; Schwab, pages 133-134; see also the letter to Hillessemius written the same day and confirming that he mailed to Plantin the text entrusted to him by the author: Schwab, pages 134-135). On 8 July 1574 Rethius could tell his friend that Plantin was willing to publish the work, but that he wanted to have more precise details about the illustrations. If the author could not make the drawings himself, that he had them executed under his supervision; even rough sketches or outlines would do, if only they convey the general idea. Rethius urged the burgomaster to do this quickly, and continued with giving some advice how the personages, or at least some of them, ought to be represented: 'Crederem Adamum protoparentem et reliquos patriarchas usque ad Noë pictura exhibendos in forma senili ac amictu simplici ac pelliceo: Noë vero et sequentes vestitos palliis: Josuë et alios iudices atque duces Machabaeos armis indutos: reges in vestitu longiore. Samuelem, Esaiam et caeteros prophetas cultu neglecto amictos palliis. Caeterum humanae salutis monumenta Benedicti Ariae Montanae studio constructa et decantata suppeditabunt icones aliquot, nempe Noë, Abrahae, Jacob, Mosis, Aaron, Josuë, Samuelis, Davidis, Nathan profetae, Salomonis, Isaiae prophetae atque Danielis prophetae et historici…' (Schwab, page 136). In two other letters to Hillessemius, of 4 September and 25 September 1574 (Schwab, pages 137-139), Rethius wrote about a possible visit by Joannes Moretus to Andernach on his return from the Frankfurt Fair, to discuss the problems. But Plantin's son-in-law did miss the rendezvous. On 24 October 1574 Rethius was killed and some months later Hillessemius also died. In his will, however, the burgomaster of Andernach had ordered his heirs to publish his work. Further contacts were made with the Plantin Press and finally an agreement was reached in which the heirs, against payment in cash, took 150 copies at the price they were sold in Plantin's bookshop. This Plantin explains in a letter to Arias Montanus, 1-4 September 1576, adding that he would soon put the edition on his presses: 'Brevi favente Domino imprimam etiam librum alium cujus inscriptio est: Sacrarum Antiquitatum Monimenta Patriarcharum Regum Prophetarum et Virorum vere Illustrium Vet. Testamenti Imaginibus et Elogiis apparata et inscripta auctore Ludovico Hillessemio Andernaco, qui auctor ad tui imitationem hunc librum fecit et discedens ex hac vita testamento suo statuit ut haeredes a me curarent eum imprimi, cum quibus conveni ut absoluto libro prompta pecunia redimant 150 exemplaria eo precio quo vendentur in taberna nostra utinam vero possem' (Corr., V, no. 738, page 198).
Note 3 Jan Moretus mailed a copy to Arias Montanus on 13 February 1577, specifying in his letter: '[et Monumenta Hillesemii], de quibus antea fortassis iam diu incepta, tandem ad finem perducta' (Corr., V, no. 754). Another copy, priced 1 florins Carolus guilders 5 stuivers, was mailed by Plantin to Camerarius from Frankfurt on 4 April 1567 (Suppl. Corr., no. 135). On 19 November 1577 24 copies were sent to J.-B. Casnedo, a merchant at Rome (Corr., V, no. 782, page 285). As late as 8 April 1585 six 'Monumenta Hillesemii 8º soye [= bound, and with silk ribbons]', priced 11 florins Carolus guilders 2 stuivers, were shipped to Arias Montanus (A.J.J. Deien, 'Christoffel Plantin als prentenhandelaar' in De Gulden Passer, 10, 1932, page 20).
Note 4 The copperplates went to the Officina Plantiniana at Leiden. In 1602 Frans Raphelengius jr. presented them for sale to Jan Moretus (L. Voet, The Golden Compasses, II, page 232). The latter very likely declined the offer; in any case, they are not preserved in Museum Plantin-Moretus.
Note 5 Listed in M 296, folio 11v (Monumenta Sacra Hillesemii, 8º, fig[uris] aeneis, 1577, [price:] stuivers 30, f[euilles] -).
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