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EYSLER, Johann Leonhard. Inventiones von Mascam und Ornamenten sehr dienlich vor viele Künstler, Erster- / Anderer Theil. Nuremberg, Johannes Christoph Weigel, c. 1710.

Oblong folio [21.5 x 33.5 cm], composed of 6 mounted and numbered engravings (including title); 7 mounted and numbered engravings (incl. title). In a contemporary gray wrapper, with minor stain on frontispiece of first title, and occasionally in margins not affecting the images. Very good overall.


Extremely rare set of ornamental prints for artists and sculptors designed by Johann Leonard Eysler, a member of a prominent Augsburg family of silversmiths, unusual even among Mannerist productions for its visages expressing extreme emotional states: fear, rage and terror. Although the presentation of such states was de rigeur in artistic anatomies and allied physiognomic manuals, we have never encountered it in a pattern book. Accordingly, the figures look more humanized than the statuary generally found in such books. This might put into question the work’s very function, although that seems perfectly clear from the title and the cartouches—i.e., they could not be party masques.

Eysler produced several books of rococo engravings for artists that focused on a single motif, including fanciful household items (pitchers, bedpans and teapots), borders (swags and foliage), as well as cycles of the months. The present work ranges from one to six anthropomorphic mask vignettes per panel; most also include detailed swags, cornucopias and elaborate coiffures.

* Berlin Kat. 90.2-3. Also at MAK, Vienna and V A, London.

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