Prodromus, seu praeambulare lumen reserati portentosae magnificentiae theatri. Quo omnia ad aulum caesaream in Augustissimae Sua Caesareae … Majestatis … Caroli VI metropoli, et residentia Viennae recondita artificiorum, et pretiositatum decora … fideliter, & absque defectu aeri sunt incisa, & annexa brevi introductione … edita (also with German language title leaf).
Wien, Johann Peter van Ghelen 1735.
Large folio. Printed title leaf in Latin, printed title leaf in German, engraved dedication leaf, (6)ff printed text, engraved plate with ground plan of gallery and portraits of the authors, engraved plate with views of gallery interiors, (27) engraved plates numbered 4-30 (the first twenty-three illustrating the paintings in the collection, with many images on each plate, and the last four the sculptures in the collection). engraved index leaf, printed text leaf with publication details. Contemporary boards, rather worn and marked, with old paper label on upper cover. A fresh, untrimmed copy, in good condition internally.
Only edition of this remarkable illustrated catalogue of the paintings and sculptures in the art gallery of the Imperial Palace in Vienna. The majority of these had been collected in the middle of the seventeenth century by the Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria (died 1665), who when governor of the Spanish Netherlands between 1647 and 1656 had employed the painter David Teniers as court artist at Brussels and curator of his picture collection (a series of paintings by Teniers survive showing the Archduke in his “cabinet of pictures”). Although Teniers himself published engravings of 243 of the best of the Italian paintings, the collection, taken back to Vienna after 1656 by the Archduke, was also strong in German, Dutch and Spanish paintings, as well as in sculptures, and in the 1730s Stampart and Prenner, court painters to the Emperor Charles VI, were commissioned to produce the present volume, which offers accurate engraved images in reduced size of several hundred of the paintings, and all the most significant of the sculptures. This was the first publication devoted to a major European collection in which so large a proportion of the works of art were illustrated, and it was also one of the earliest to show how the individual paintings were arranged and hung. The authors had originally intended an even more comprehensive volume (evidenced in part by a set of proof plates, from the William Beckford and Hamilton Palace collections, which featured, somewhat under-described, as item 1074 in Weinreb cat 42), but the present copy is complete as issued, including the engraved leaf with an index of artists, which is often absent. Berlin Cat 3965.