BIBLE ILLUSTRATIONS - [MERIAN, Matthäus]. Figures de la Bible ... Biblische Figuren ... Figures of the Bible. Amsterdam, Nicolaus Visscher, [c. 1648].
Three parts in one volume, oblong small 4to. Contemporary English calf; rebacked in the early 19th century; ff. [iii], 62; [i], 111, [1 blank]; [i], , parts two and three with engraved titles, illustrated with engravings by P. H. Schut after Merian throughout; without engraved title to part one, as often the case, leaf 9 in part one misbound; wear to extremities, earlier re-enforcements to hinges; a few leaves, mainly at the end of the volume a bit frayed, only occasional light spotting, cut close at upper margins; internally rather clean and fresh with the engravings in clear and deep black impressions; 17th-century ownership inscription E. Pyle inside front cover, 17th- and 18th-century annotations about the price of this and another copy ('in blue Turkey'), to front endpapers.
First edition of the first re-engravings of Merian's Bible illustrations, with text in Latin, French, German and English, as well as longer explanations in Dutch. Matthäus Merian (1593-1650) was the most successful engraver, topographical and otherwise, of Central Europe of the first half of the 17th century. As early as the early 1620s he worked on the project of Bible illustrations; 4 fascicules of Icones biblicae appeared between 1625 and 1627. In 1630 followed tho so-called Merianbibel.
'Merian's accomplishments as draughtsman and engraver, as well as publisher, are bordering the gigantic. He achieved his immense oeuvre not only as artist and businessman, but as a critical observer of his turbulent times [30-Years' War]. His numerous surviving letters evoke the picture of a powerful and active character, with cultural, commercial and prophetic-philosophical ambitions' (translated from Wüthrich in Neue Deutsche Biographie).
VD17 14:696406T (Dutch general title); Wüthrich III, 21 A1.