Tab. DXVII. Interroga Aves (…)
Copperplate engraving/etching. on Verge hand laid. paper.
Sheet size: 25,5 x 40,3 cm. Image size: 20,8 x 31,8 cm.
This antique print originates from: ‘Physica Sacra’ by Johann Jakob Scheuchzer. Scheuchzer believed that the Old Testament was a factual account of the history, of the world. He initiated a major project to explain Biblical events in terms of physics, medicine, and natural history. His aim was to prove the existence of God through science, but the Swiss authorities initially refused to grant him a permit to publish it. Eventually a lushly illustrated edition of this extraordinary work as printed between 1731 and 1735 in the great German publishing center Augsburg. Entitled ‘Jobi physica sacra oder Hiobs Natur-Wissenschaft verglichen mit der heutigen’, the work became known as the Physica Sacra or the Kupfer-Bibel. It became famous for its elaborate illustrations, in which each biblical story was framed with an architectural border containing details relevant to the chapter depicted.
Made by Johann Jakob Scheuchzer after an anonymous artist. Johann Jakob Scheuchzer (1672-1733) was a physician by training, with a strong interest in natural history and paleontology. Born in Switzerland, the son of a physician, he studied at University in Germany & later returned to Zurich to take a professorship in Mathematics. Like many scientists of the day, he considered the Old Testament a factual account of the history of the earth. In his extensive travels he amassed one of the largest fossil collections of the 18th century. He hypothesized that all plants had perished in the flood described in the bible, & discovered what he believed to be the fossil of a human flood victim. In his masterpiece, Physica Sacra, he details his theory at length, using references to the 1611 King James Bible. The book was a sensation & was published simultaneously in Latin, German & French, each issue with exactly the same plates. His theories were not disproved until the work of Cuvier. Engraved by C. Lichtensteger.
Condition: Very good, given age. General age-related toning and/or occasional minor defects from handling. Please study scan carefully.
Keywords: ASK THE BIRDS-JOB-BIBLE-PLATE 517
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