The Ars Memoranda, another xylographic work, of which the subject, taken from the New Testament, was equally well adapted to the imagination of the artists, had an equally glorious destiny. The work originally comprised thirty blocks, the fifteen blocks of text facing the fifteen engravings. The designs represented the attributes of each of the Evangelists, with allegories and explanatory legends. Thus, in that which relates to the Apostle Matthew:
#1 represents the Birth and Genealogy of Jesus Christ
#2 the Adoration of the Magi
#3 the Baptism of St. John
#4 the Temptation of Christ
#5 the Sermon on the Mount
#6 the Parable of the Birds
The angel that supports the whole is the emblem of St. Matthew the Evangelist.
This mnemonic treatment of the Gospels proceeded from symbols of which we have no means of finding the origin, but which without doubt went back many centuries earlier… In 1505 a German publisher published an imitation of it, under the title of Rationarium Evangelistarum; and this time the copyist of the illustrations, although trying to retain the tradition of the first xylographers, none the less reveals himself as an artist of the first order, at least a pupil of Martin Schongauer.
By: The LION & the CARDINAL
Via: Feedbin Starred Entries