A framed collection of 7 woodcuts from the Fall and Salvation of Mankind by Albrecht Altdorfer

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A framed collection of 7 woodcuts from the Fall and Salvation of Mankind by Albrecht Altdorfer

Albrecht Altdorfer
Regensburg, Germany; ca. 1513

Four silver gilt frames:

Approximate size of three smaller frames: 23 x 18.75 cm
Approximate size of large frame: 35.5 x 28.5 cm
Approximate size of woodcut prints: 7 x 4.75 cm

A collection of four modern silver-gilt frames featuring seven woodcuts from Albrecht Altdorfer's The Fall and Salvation of Mankind Through the Life and Passion of Christ, including: The Descent from the Cross, The Crucifixion, Raising of the Cross, The Arrest of Christ (ex-collection of George Björklund), Christ before Caiaphas (ex-collection of Paul Davidsohn {see Lugt 654}), Christ Nailed to the Cross, and Pilate Washing his Hands (ex-collection of Paul Davidsohn).

This group of seven woodcuts derive from a larger series of 40 woodcuts depicting the Fall and Salvation of Mankind. They are signed, in plate, with the artist’s monogram: AA.

Albert Altdorfer is first cited in Regensberg as a painter in 1505. He is quite likely the son of the painter and miniaturist, Ulrich Altdorfer, active in Regensburg during the late 15th century. It is Altdorfer’s background as an engraver and miniaturist that entailed the remarkable skill with which he realized his ambitious group of 40 woodcuts. The facility with which Altdorfer has cut away the woodblocks in such exacting and minute scale is extraordinary. In his later years, Altdorfer expanded his talents to include architecture, though none of his work in that medium survives. He was also active in local politics and served as mayor of Regensburg in 1528. His most notable productions include the Battle of Alexander, a landscape painting for Duke Wilhelm IV of Bavaria, marginal drawings for Emperor Maximillian’s Prayer Book and woodcuts of the Triumphal Portal and Procession, also made for Maximillian.

During the mid-16th century the French enameler, Jean Pénicaud II, produced a remarkable group of enamels freely adapting scenes from this influential series of Altdorfer’s woodcuts.

Two prints from this group descend from the former collection of Paul Davidsohn, whose collected prints now reside in numerous museums and private collections.

Condition: Most prints in the group are of standard condition, although one or two examples are extraordinarily fine, bright impressions whilst another two are yellowed with some age. Minor stains and marginal wear commensurate with age. A few prints trimmed close-to-or along the margins, others are with ample marginal room and one is trimmed slightly within its lower-left border. The 20th century frames have minor nicks and losses commensurate with age.

Further references or images available upon request.