First Illustrated Edition of Erasmus’ Praise of Folly

30 September 2020

Available at De Roo: the first illustrated edition of Erasmus’ Praise of Folly, his greatest and most famous work.

The amusingly and lively drawings on which the 81 illustrations are based were discovered in the margins of a copy of 1515 Basel edition, which belonged to Erasmus’ friend Oswald Myconius (1488-1552), now in the Print Room of the Basel Museum. They have been recognized as the work of Hans Holbein the Younger and are published here for the first time, engraved by Caspar Merian. Since some of the drawings were quite large, these had to be pasted in and folded. In this copy, all the engravings are intact, including the folding ones, which are commonly damaged. The work was published under the direction of the French physician and numismatist Charles Patin (1633-1693), who dedicates the edition to Jean-Baptiste Colbert.) Vander Haeghen I, p. 125 / Brunet II, p. 1037 / Hollstein XXV, p.74.

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