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Abraham van Weerdt

(active 1636–1680 in Nuremberg)

Inside a Printers’ Shop. Woodcut. 18.3 x 27.4 cm. 1676. Nagler 4; Nagler, Die Monogrammisten, I, 1478.

Abraham van Weerdt, a printmaker probably from the Netherlands, was active in Nuremberg between 1636 and 1680. Among his works that have come down to us are the woodcut illustrations for a German edition of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, published in Nuremberg in 1639, and for a Nuremberg edition of the Lutheran Bible.

The present extremely rare woodcut from the year 1676 is undoubtedly van Weerdt’s principal work, for the artist inserted his artistic monogram in two places and used his full name in signing it. The wealth of detail it provides is of great significance in terms of cultural history, since van Weerdt gives us a good idea of what a printers’ shop in Nuremburg would have looked like in the 17th century. In the right half of the picture two men are stood at a printing press, the vertical section of which is topped by a basilisk, and engaged in inking the wood blocks. Visible on the left are the typecases where a young man with an apron and a woman with a child are sorting the letters and the spacing material. Accurately observed details, such as the Renaissance washbasin on the right, a towel roll and items of everyday use invigorate the scene and make it very realistic. The half-open window on the right at the rear affords a view of a typical southern German onion-shaped church tower.

A very fine impression with the framing line. On an old album mounting. In excellent condition.

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