The White King Receiving a Message About the Defeat of the Croats

Hans Burgkmair (1459-1519), The White King Receiving a Message About the Defeat of the Croats, woodcut, 1514-1516.  Reference: Bartsch 80-(224) 153 [by Leonhard Beck], from the History of Emperor Maximilian I. In very good condition (with margins; some very old script in ink bottom margin, some slight staining, foxing), on old laid paper, 8 1/4 x 7 5/8, the sheet 10 x 8 1/2 inches.

Provenance: Karl Edward von Liphart (1808-1891, Dorpat, Bonn and Florence), with his graphite mark verso (Lugt 1651, see also Lugt 1687, 1688).  Lugt notes of Liphart, a distinguished collector of old master prints, “il commence par l’oeuvre de Ridinger et par un achat considerable GG. Boerner in Leipsig en 1836.”

A very good impression, superbly printed on the right side, a bit dry on the left.

The History of the Weisskunig (White King) is an autobiography in the style of an illustrated novel without words. Although it is the story of Emperor Maximilian I all the characters have symbolic names. The White King is the name Maximilian  chose for himself, as it both stands for  whiteness (purity) and is associated with the word for wisdom (Weisheit).

Hans Burgkmair, the eminent Augsburg painter and printmaker was in effect Maximilian’s official court artist.  He worked with other artists, including Leonhard Beck (Germany, Augsburg, 1480 – 1542), in developing the plates for the Maximilian series. At the time of the original cataloguing this block was given to Beck; in the more recent edition of Bartsch it is given to Beck but the decision was made to continue its cataloguing under Burgkmair, to avoid confusion and keep the ordering and placement of all the blocks of the series intact.

This is one of a bound group of old master prints, including other woodcuts by Burgkmair, Hans Weiditz, Hans Schaufelein and others.  Many of these prints have the mark of the eminent collector Karl Edward von Liphart (Lugt 1651) verso. We are currently doing research on the collection so it is not on the market as yet.