DISSEMINATION, "PLAGIARISM" AND ARCHITECTURAL ENGRAVINGS IN SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY EUROPE. THE CASE OF MELCHIOR KÜSEL'S BIBLE In 1908 the Austrian art historian Erika Tietze-Conrat published an article on the Icones Biblicae Veteris et Novi Testamenti, an illustrated bible published in Augsburg in 1680 by the German engraver Melchior Küsel. The scholar had fully understood that the peculiarity of this Bilderbibel lied not only in the 241 plates that Küsel had added as a setting and background for the many stories taken from the Old and New Testaments, but also in the selection of iconographic sources. Almost all the engravings were not the result of Küsel's inventions; he had created new versions from famous originals of diverse origin, which had come into his possession or were reproduced during his intense activity as an engraver in Germany, Austria and Italy. Tietze-Conrat had discovered Küsel’s curious work of "interpolation" and, through meticulous research conducted in Vienna’s antique collections, had drawn up a list of 110 "inspired" Bible plates by matching them with the original engravings that inspired them. However, her research was limited to identifying the famous paintings (by Raphael, Veronese, Rembrandt and many others), already reproduced and in circulation in seventeenth-century Europe through so-called "translation printing”. The engravings of architectural perspectives that Küsel had also included in his repertoire had therefore been left out of Tietze-Conrat's praiseworthy research work. One hundred and ten years on, this study now adds the pairs related to architecture, including authors such as Donato Bramante, Galeazzo Alghisi, Maarten van Heemskerck, Wenceslaus Hollar, and Jean Le Pautre. The aim is to find an explanation for this publication - which came at the time of the founding of the first German art academies - which does not renounce invention and indirectly bears witness to the desire to fascinate less educated readers as well as to capture an audience of collectors, to offer experts a sort of game of more or less covert references and quotations. This study also allows us to explore the themes of the diffusion and the criteria for manipulating images of architecture in seventeenth-century Europe, starting from the cases identified in this unique bible by one of the most receptive and ambitious ateliers of the time.
|Number of pages||16|
|Volume||35-36, luglio-dicembre 2017|
|Publication status||Published - 2018|