Images de Saints et Saintes Plate 72. Sainte Madelberte ou Machtelberthe, vierge, abbesse de Maubeuge.
Images de Saints et Saintes
Burgkmair, Hans I [1473-1531]
Beck, Leonhard [ca.1480-1542]
Frank, Liefrink; Lindt, Negkher; Resch, H. Taberith; G. Taberith, Seemann
Print: Woodcut on laid paper
The print depicts Saint Madelberte or Machtelberthe (Madalberta), virgin, abbess of Maubeuge. Madelberte is pictured in the robes and veil of a nun. She sits on a bench in a room very simply appointed. In the background is an alcove outfitted for sleeping. Madelberte seems to be at lectio: she has a book on her lap. But she is also confronted with a little demon. The demon stands on its hind legs with its claws on Madelberte's skirts. It looks up at her, more pleading than menacing. The saint, however, gently motions for the demon to desist. Madelberte's coat-of-arms is on the wall behind her. Madelberta was born to a saintly family. Her father was Saint Vincent Madelgarus and her mother Saint Waldetrudis (Waudru). Saint Aldetrudis was her sister; Saints Landericus and Dentlin were her brothers. Aldetrudis and Madelberta were educated by their aunt , Saint Aldegund, foundress and abbess of the Benedictine monastery of Maubeuge. Both women became nuns there. On the death of Aldegund in 684, Aldentrudis became abbess. When she died ca. 697, Madelberte succeeded her sister in the office. Madelberte died in 706. Her feast, formerly celebrated on February 6, is kept on September 7. See catholiconline.com/printer_friendly. php?id=4402§ion=Saints+%26+Angels, www.orthodoxengland.btinternet.co.uk/stdsep.htm and From www.saintpatrickdc.org/ss/ss-ind-m.htm: "Her relics were translated from Maubeuge to Liège by Saint Hubert about 722. In art, Saint Madelberta is shown in prayer being tempted by the devil (Roeder)." Related terms: Christian hagiography This is one of 119 plates (see aap2969-aap3087) acquired as a set by Frank Kacmarcik in about the year 2000 at auction from The Swann Galleries, New York. Each of the prints was matted in a heavy card stock folder. They were stacked and held together in two rather deteriorated folders made of book board weight cardboard, covered and held shut with string ties. The prints all are printed on laid paper measuring approximately 40.0 cm x 25.0 cm. Each sheet has a red edge on the top, bottom and right (recto) sides. The left (recto) edge of each print bears indications that the sheet had once been bound into a book. At the time of purchase, the prints were accompanied by no identifying information whatsoever. However, research uncovered the fact that prints in the set matched examples published on the World Wide Web identified as the work of Leonhard Beck (Augsburg, Germany ca. 1480-1542) and part of a publication called "Images de Saints et Saintes". The Elmer Andersen Library at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis owns this title (rare books Folio 709.43 B914). Comparison between the Arca Artium prints and the U of M book confirms that physical characteristics including print subjects, number and quality, paper size, type, quality, dimensions and red edging all match. There is every reason to believe, then, that the 119 Arca Artium prints are disbound plates from an original edition of "Images de Saints et Saintes issus de la famille de l'empereur Maximilien I". In addition to the 119 prints that match the Arca Artium set, the U of M book includes 11 pages of text that precede the woodcuts. These pages provide a title page, an introduction detailing information about the wood blocks used to produce the set and identifications of the 119 saints pictured in the plates. "Images de Saints et Saintes issus de la famille de l'empereur Maximilien I" (Vienna: F. X. Stöckl, 1799) was printed by the widow Alberti. The introduction explains that the images were printed from wood blocks cut between 1517 and 1519 by the order and at the expense of Emperor Maximilian I (1459-1519). The set was originally intended to contain only those saints born of Maximilian I's family. In fact, there are images of some persons who do not belong to the family. Further, some images represent local saints and are not included in the canon of universally recognized saints. [Though the introduction does not comment on the inclusion of political figures, some, like Charlemagne, are not not saints at all.] The 119 blocks from which the 18th century book was printed, along with three others too rotten to withstand printing, had been stored in the imperial library of the court of Vienna. It is not clear if these 122 blocks constituted the complete 16th century set. Though the quality of each print is quite good in terms of sharpness of detail, nearly every one contains some sort of line skip, especially in the borders. (Plate 19, Saint Cloud, shows the worst damage with the whole lower right corner failing to print.) While this sort of print imperfection would normally suggest that the print had been pulled from a block worn from use, in this instance it may indicate deterioration suffered by an unprinted block during 280 years of poor storage conditions. Notes penned on the back sides of most of the blocks verifiy their early 16th century production dates (1517 and 1518) and supply names of eight gravers who cut the designs. The artists named are: Hans Frank, Corneille Liefrink, Aléxis Lindt, Josse de Negkher, Wolfgang Resch, Hans Taberith, Guilleaume Taberith and Nicolas Seemann. Of these, all but Wolfgang Resch and Nicolas Seemann also executed the plates for "du Triomph de Maximilien I" after drawings by Hans Burkgmaier [sic.], the elder. This fact, along with similarities between these images of saints and others known certainly to be Burgkmaier's work, led the anonymous author of the introduction to attribute all the designs for "Images de Saints et Saintes" to Hans Burkgmaier. In fact, his is the only artist's name to appear on the title page. There is no mention at all of Leonhard Beck in this introduction. Additional information (from Bénézit) about some of the artists: Burgkmair: The elder, Augsburg, Germany ca. 1473-1531, 1533, 1553 or 1559. Student of Martin Schongauer. His work is said to have influenced that of Leonhard Beck. Corneille, Liefrink: The elder, Holland, d. before 1545. 16th c. active in Antwerp. Worked on "Triomphe de l'empereur Maximilien" and "Saints Autrichien" by Hans Burgkmair. Wolfgang Resch: Germany, 16th c. Active in Nuremberg, Germany between 1515-1537. Made carvings for "Ein Schoner dialogus oder Gesprach von zweyen Schwestern" Hans Taberith: Germany, 16th c. Variations on his name include: Jan or Johann or Hans or Taberit or Taborit or Taboreth or Thaberit. Worked in Augsburg, Germany from 1516-1518. Executed woodcuts to illustrate works of emperor Maximilian I and books of heraldry. The following aditional information was gleaned from websites. Some of this data is at variance with that supplied by the title page and introduction to "Images de Saints et Saintes issus de la famille de l'empereur Maximilien I" and suggests that further research is necessary to clarify documentation on these woodcuts. "From the series of 123 superbly detailed woodcuts of the Saints Connected with the House of Hapsburg, by the German master Leonhard Beck (c1480-1542 ). Commissioned by the Emperor Maximilian I, this series was part of a trilogy intended to immortalize the the emperor and his family in the traditions of chivalric knights of the Arthurian legends. Largely as the result of theTheuerdank, the Weisskunig and the Freydal, Maximilian I is recognized as "last great knight of Europe and the 'patron of humanistic romanticism.'" These woodcuts are among some of the finest of the German Renaissance, and also include works by Hans Burgkmair (1473-1531) and Hans Schäufelein. Reference: Hollstein II, 170. From the 1799 edition published by the reknowned Adam von Bartsch (1757-1821); the Austrian engraver, etcher, and author of the critical catalogue, Le Peintre Graveur. Print; Woodcut" (found 3 June 2005 at http://www.platemark.com/cgi-bin/showproducts.asp?category=7&artist=157 ) "One of the strangest stories in printing history. Burgkmair made a suite of 92 large woodcuts representing the life and glory of emperor Maximilian around 1518 but for some reason the emperor found them not suitable for publication. Jet at the end of the 18th century the woodblocks were discovered and the first publication found birth." (found 2 June 2005 at http://www.oldmasterprint.com/fb.htm)