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Spiegel der waren Rhetoric by Friedrich Riederer - First edition - 11 December 1493 - from Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books AG (SKU: #00917)

Spiegel der waren Rhetoric

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Spiegel der waren Rhetoric

by Friedrich Riederer

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About This Item

Freiburg im Breisgau: Friedrich Riederer, 11 December 1493. – First edition.
The first complete rhetoric in German.
Friedrich Ried(e)rer's (c. 1450-c. 1510) work has to be esteemed as a landmark in the domain of rhetoric. Comprising ars rhetorica, ars dictandi and ars notaria, Riederer's book was intended for the most important fields of communication in his time, where rhetorical knowledge was used: chancery writers, notary's and other offices, scholarly research and teaching, preaching, municipal judicature and administration. The text is extensively treating the classical rhetorical theory including translations of parts of Cicero's De inventione and other texts. Moreover, it contains also detailed manuals on epistles and on legal contracts, providing a number of models.
Riederer was an interesting and erudite character, both active as a humanist writer and a printer. He ran the second printing press at Freiburg im Breisgau and this is his first dated book. It was very successful and was reprinted in Strasbourg in 1505, 1509, 1517, and again in Augsburg, 1535. Riederer apparently specialised on rhetorical and poetical works, including a Latin tract by his contemporary Jakob Locher Epitoma Rhetorices (1496).
The illustrations in this edition are regarded as the first woodcuts printed in Freiburg. The xylographic title shows artistic resemblances to Schongauer's and Dürer's works. The calligraphic script of the heading is flanked by two angels holding the coats of arms of the rulers of Friedingen and those of Steckborn (both near Lake Constance). Beneath is another fine woodcut with an elegant lady holding the armorial device of the author/printer, which reappears on the last leaf. This illustration has often been related to a drawing by Dürer, today in Bayonne (Musée Bonnat), representing a young woman in a fashionable dress. The woodcut was even thought to have been designed by the young Albrecht Dürer, withdrawn, however, by more recent research.
The full-page woodcut on the verso of fol. a1 shows an allegorical scene: The young lady Rhetorica offers brilliant eloquence in form of a radiant mirror that looks like a sun or a star to a king at his court. This illustration is signed with the initials MM, once suggested as a work by the artist Matthes Maler from Erfurt (Nagler, no. 1999). This theory was dismissed as Matthes is not testified before 1511 and neither his style nor his monogram resembles the present woodcut.
The illustration on leaf k5 showing Daedalus and Icarus is regarded the first printed representation of a flying human. It is not clear, however, whether this motive was exclusively designed for Riederer's Spiegel, or if it stemmed from another edition, as for example Ovid's Metamorphoses. Nevertheless the author incorporates the image in his argumentation when he points out that the writer should use his words considerately, like Daedalus who avoided flying too high or too low. Those who are boisterous and overexcited will soon lose their reader's respect and attention.

Provenance: 1. South Tyrol, the noble family Niederthor, their coat of arms within a wreath on leaf a2. The family died out in 1559. Today, this coat of arms is used by the village Terlan (near Bozen). – 2. Library stamp on title, partly erased, place illegible. – 3. Schweinfurt, Otto Schäfer collection (OS 1418), acquired in 1988.
Description of this copy: Folio, 305 x 216 mm. 188 leaves: ff. [1], II-CLXXX, [8]. – Types 1:94G, 2:140G, 3:83G, 44 lines and headline. With 4 woodcut illustrations including woodcut title.
Condition: Slight damp-staining at upper margin, a few wormholes at the beginning. Few restored tears in margins, only one (q2) affecting text. Some slight browning of leaves apparently due to the original manufacturing process of the paper. – Lower compartment of spine discoloured, joints partly cracked.
Binding: Contemporary dark brown blind-stamped calf on bevelled wooden boards, three raised bands, two clasps. The covers are richly tooled with border rolls and stamps to a panel design, including title on upper cover: "rhetorica".
Literature: Davies, Fairfax Murray, German, 1913, no. 364. – Friedrich Riederer, Spiegel der wahren Rhetorik (1493), ed. by J. Knape and S. Luppold, Wiesbaden 2008. (Kommentar zu Friedrich Riederers Spiegel der wahren Rhetorik, ed. J. Knape and S. Luppold, Wiesbaden 2010.) – Goff R-197. – GW M38173. – Hain-Copinger, 1895, no. 13914. – Hieronymus, F. Oberrheinische Buchillustration I, Basel 1972, no. 57. – ISTC ir00197000. – London, BMC III, p. 696. – Meder, J. Dürer-Katalog. Vienna 1932, p. 272, no. IV. – Munich, BSB-Ink R-183. – Nagler, Monogrammisten IV, 1871, no. 1999. – Schoch/Mende/Scherbaum, eds. Albrecht Dürer, Das druckgraphische Werk III. Munich 2004, no. A32. – Schreiber, no. 5096.


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Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books AG CH (CH)
Bookseller's Inventory #
Spiegel der waren Rhetoric
Friedrich Riederer
Contemporary blind-tooled calf on wooden boards, two clasps
Book condition
First edition
Friedrich Riederer
Place of Publication
Freiburg im Breisgau
Date Published
11 December 1493
rhetoric, incunable, incunabula, woodcut illustration
305 x 216 mm

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Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books AG

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About Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books AG

Dr. Jörn Günther's passion for medieval books and manuscripts predates the establishment of his art dealership in 1990. With a team of specialists at the helm, Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books provides scholarly services, expert advice, long-term support on the development of collections, and the acquisition and sale of manuscripts, miniatures, and rare early printed books from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.After a lifetime of bibliophile and 40 years of scholarly pursuit, Dr. Jörn Günther has earned a reputation as one of the world's foremost specialists and voices of authority in his field. He has been instrumental in the composition of some of the best collections worldwide, and has worked with leading international museums and institutions, such as New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, and alongside private collectors on a quest to create and develop their own collections.


Some terminology that may be used in this description includes:

Especially for older books, a printer's device refers to an identifying mark, also sometimes called a printer's mark, on the... [More]
Calf or calf hide is a common form of leather binding. Calf binding is naturally a light brown but there are ways to treat the... [More]
raised band(s)
Raised bands refer to the ridges that protrude slightly from the spine on leather bound books. The bands are created in the... [More]
First Edition
In book collecting, the first edition is the earliest published form of a book. A book may have more than one first edition in... [More]
A book in fine condition exhibits no flaws. A fine condition book closely approaches As New condition, but may lack the... [More]
Very generally, "leaves" refers to the pages of a book, as in the common phrase, "loose-leaf pages." A leaf is a single sheet... [More]
The page bound on the left side of a book, opposite to the recto page.
The outer portion of a book which covers the actual binding. The spine usually faces outward when a book is placed on a shelf.... [More]
In reference to a hinge or a book's binding, means that the glue which holds the opposing leaves has allowed them to separate,... [More]

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