JF Ptak Science Books LLC Post #105
Hans Sebald Beham wrote—produced, rather, the text and illustrated—Dises buchlein zeyget an und lernet ein mass oder proporcion der Ross, nutzlich iungen gesellen, Malern und goltschmiden, a tremendous, inspired model book for artists and observers, back there in 1528. Amidst the heavy, blocky Gothic type of the book lie a series of just beautiful, proportional studies of horses. It is probably the single greatest illustrated work on horses done in the history of printing to this time; and it has stood the test of time as a work of art, rather well.
It is also, evidently, the work of an anti-Lutherian and certified “godless” painter, expelled by the city of Nurnberg (along with his brother and as it turns out the subject of yesterday’s Saturn post, George Pencz). He, and his brother Barthel, and Pencz---with whom he shares birth and death dates of 1500 to 1550—were shaken by the city half way through his life in 1525 for having bad thoughts about religion and the proper way of not avoiding it. The decision by the city didn’t affect his art, as we can well see
Beham’s model book on the horse was followed by one on the human figure. He was an extraordinary talent whose fine, deft touch can be recognized across the room, miniature or not.