Lot 12
  • 12

Arias Montanus, Benedictus

10,000 - 15,000 USD
10,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • paper
Humanae Salutis Monumenta. Antwerp: Christopher Plantin, 1571 [i.e. 1583]

Small 4to (8 1/4 x 5 5/8 in; 210 x 142 mm). Engraved architectural title with monogram of Pieter Huys, engraved medallion portrait of Christ looking to the right, 70 three-quarter page emblematic engravings of Biblical scenes by J. and H. Wiericx, Jan de Sadeler, and Abraham de Bruyn, after Pieter van der Borcht, Crispin van den Broeck and others printed on rectos, odes in italic type on facing versos, collation: A - X4, Y2 = 86 leaves. Late 19th-century red morocco elaborately decorated in a 17th-century panel design à la fanfare with acanthus scrolls composed of pale violet leaves in the central panel and frame, roll-tooled with alternating bouquets, spine richly gilt, dentelles, rose watered silk doublures and endleaves, edges gilt, signed in gilt by Leon Gruel, in a red marbled-boards slipcase; edges of slipcase worn.


Henri Burton


Praz, p. 259; Voet 590

Catalogue Note

First quarto edition (the third overall), and a superb copy, of the first scriptural emblem book, joining the format of the picture Bible with the text-image apparatus of the emblem in a construction offering sacred historical exempla as the matter of devotion. Arias Montanus, who contributed the verses here to accompany dramatic scenes from the Old and New Testaments, accompanied the bishop of Segovia to the Council of Trent. He was asked by Philip II to edit the polyglot Bible planned by Plantin and printed in 1572, one of the great Bibles of the Counter-Reformation.

This edition has the same texts and approbations as the first issue, but the illustrations are much larger than in the octavo editions, and do not have the engraved borders of the earlier editions. Voss suggests that because Antwerp was under Calvinist control, with no Catholic theologians to provide an approbation, it was more prudent to avoid trouble by not giving the exact date of the edition, and to give the impression that it was a much earlier publication. He also remarks (p. 184) that Plantin wrote the author in 1572 to say that the work was held as suspect by the Spanish Inquisition and its sale forbidden.