ostracon ancient art



Sebastian Münster, Woodcut with Besiege of Zurich, Edition of 1588

The woodcut shows the third siege of Zurich of 1354 with a cavalry battle outside the city walls.

The borrowed image depicts the attacking army with Asian helmets and scimitars. The foremost rider lies slain on the ground, others turn away and ride off.

It was not unusual to use battle scenes in changing contexts - Münster uses the same image to illustrate the Cimbrian war of 110 BC.

The third besiege of Zurich started July 25, 1354 and was abandoned after eight days. The conflict had arisen in connection with a newly introduced guild order, which enforced the city's self-government against the nobility and church authorities.
The verso shows Duke Albrecht II (1298-1358) of the Habsburg dynasty, who was the army commander against Zurich.

The present print is taken from the 1588 edition of Münster’s Cosmography.

Sebastian Münster (1488-1552) was a cosmographer and professor of Hebrew. He made himself the center of a large network of scholars from whom he obtained geographic descriptions, maps, and directions.

Beautiful late Gothic style with minute details for the battle. Early Baroque style for the portrait of Albrecht II.

Laid paper, woodcut

Basle, edition of 1588 AD

18 cm (7.1 in), 17 cm (6.7 in)

Clear print on laid paper. Paper lightly browned, leaf trimmed.

80 USD

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Source: Sebastian Münster. Cosmographey oder Beschreibung aller Länder herrschafftenn und fürnemesten Stetten des gantzen Erdbodens […]. Edited by Sebastian Henricpetri, Basle 1588.

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