This anthology of the works of the Greek historian Flavius Josephus (1st century) belonged to Marcus Fugger, a great patron of the arts and member of an important German family of merchant bankers.
As with other books that Marcus Fugger had bound in Paris in the early 1550s, the binding is profusely decorated and signed by its owner on the front interior. The composition consists of branches and coloured bands bordered by gilded fillets. These interlace around a central cartouche bearing the Fuggers’ arms, on a ground of dark green morocco with gold stippling. The spine, which is decorated in the same way as the covers, has no bands but does have head-caps that are reinforced à la grecque. The three cut edges are in the Renaissance style: gilt, gauffered and painted.
This is a magnificent example of a Renaissance book, bearing eloquent testimony to the humanists interest in the work of classical authors and in the book as an objet d’art.
Marcus Fugger Collection; Lucius Wiemerding Collection. Acquired by Calouste Gulbenkian through Hans Stiebel at the sale of the Wiemerding Collection, New York, 5–6 March 1951 (no. 265).
H. 34 (34.2) cm; W. 23 cm
Richard Ehrenberg, Le Siècle des Fugger. Paris: SEVPEN, 1955.
Calouste Gulbenkian Museum. Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, 2001, p. 103, cat. 79.
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