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In 1475 Konrad von Megenberg’s ‘Buch der Natur’ appeared in print, issued by the printer Johann Bämler of Augsburg. [1] This is the same work as the manuscript discussed in item #14, but the illustrations are now woodcuts that have been coloured.
From the catalogue of the second edition [2] I quote “Entstanden ist Konrad von Megenbergs ‘Buch der Natur’, vom Autor selbst ‘buch von den naturlichen dingen’ genannt, um 1348/50. Es gilt als erste systematische Sammlung des Wissens über die geschaffene Natur in deutscher Sprache. Als Adressatenkreis des Werkes hat man sich wohl Angehörige der Wiener Stephansschule vorzustellen. Konrads Hauptquelle ist der auch Albertus Magnus zugeschriebene ‘Liber de natura rerum‘ des Thomas von Cantimpré. Er zog aber auch eine Reihe weiterer Quellen heran: u.a. die ‘Etymologien’ des Isidor von Sevilla, den ‘Canon’ des Avicenna, das ‘Circa instans‘, ebenso den ‘Physiologus’ und ‘De vegetabilis‘ des Albertus Magnus. Konrads Kompilation erweitert seine lateinische Vorlage um etwa ein Drittel. Grund dafür sind u.a. die tropologisch-moralischen Deutungen, die sich auch auf damals aktuelle politische Probleme beziehen. Ende der 1350er Jahre schuf Konrad unter Hinzuziehung neuer Quellen eine zweite Fassung des Werkes, das er dem österreichischen Herzog Rudolf IV. widmete.” [Konrad von Megenberg’s ‘ Book of nature ‘, called by the author ‘ Book of the natural things ‘ originated in 1348/50. It is considered the first systematic collection of knowledge about the created nature in German language. As addressees of the work we have to imagine probably members of St. Stephen’s School in Vienna. Von Megenberg’s main source is the ‘Liber de natura rerum‘ of Thomas Cantimpré, also attributed to Albertus Magnus ‘. But he also considered a number of other sources, e.g. the ‘Etymologies’ of Isidore of Seville, the ‘ Canon’ of Avicenna, the ‘Circa instans‘ , as well as the ‘Physiologus’ and ‘De vegetabilis‘ of Albertus Magnus. Von Megenburg’s compilation expands its Latin original by about a third. This is due to, inter alia, the tropological or moral interpretations, which also relate to current political problems at that time. End of the 1350s Konrad von Megenburg created on the basis of new sources, a second version of the work, which he dedicated to the Austrian Duke Rudolf IV].

On f. 168v of the 1475 edition there is a full-page woodcut preceding the text on worms etc., showing a stylised landscape with various insects, worms, a toad and a snail.

BSB Ink. K-44_168v

The snail is prominently displayed, with the whitish shell showing faint riblets (though rather stylised) and sinistral. The reddish animal is heading up, away from the viewer but has clearly both large and small tentacles displayed.

In the second edition of 1478, the same woodcut can be found on f. 165v. Now the body of the snail is uncoloured.

BSB Ink. K-45_165v

In the third edition of 1481 [3], the woodcut is present as f. 111v, and is again slightly different coloured, the snail roseate all over.

BSB Ink. K-46_111v

In 1482 a fourth edition appeared, also issued in Augsburg, but from a different printer viz. Johann Schönsperger [4]. Here the woodcut had been newly made and appeared as mirror-image on f. 132v. If the shell was in nature dextral, this time it was rightly so figured! The colours are paler than in the previous one, but the snail looks more humanised.

BSB Ink. K-47_132v

Finally, there is a fifth edition, also from 1482 and printed by Anton Sorg in Augsburg. A similar woodcut as in the previous edition may be found on f. 140r, but has been re-worked again. The snail is now less upright, with only one larger tentacle; the shell is relatively smaller and there is a slightly different positioning within the image.

BSB Ink. K-48_140r

The first edition constitutes likely the first printed illustration of a land snail [6]

Notes:
[1] Conradus <de Megenberg> ([14]75). Hye nach volget das Buch der Natur, das innhaltet zu dem ersten von Eygenschafft und Natur des Menschen, darnach von der Natur und Eygenschafft des Himels, der Tier des Gefügels, der Kreuter, der Steyn und von vil ander natürlichen Dingen …: Johann Bämler, Augsburg. BSB, Ink. K-44, 294 ff. http://bit.ly/1dUqRVF (22.i.2014).
[2] BSB, Ink. K-45, 296 ff. http://bit.ly/1msHp80 (22.i.2014); permalink: urn:nbn:de:bvb:12-bsb00029643-5.
[3] BSB, Ink. K-46, 194 ff. urn:nbn:de:bvb:12-bsb00031026-7 (permalink).
[4] BSB, Ink. K-47, 230 ff. urn:nbn:de:bvb:12-bsb00032393-4 (permalink).
[5] BSB, Ink. K-48, 240 ff. urn:nbn:de:bvb:12-bsb00032397-5 (permalink).
[6] Allmon, W.D. (2007). The evolution of accuracy in natural history illustration: reversal of printed illustrations of snails and crabs in pre-Linnean works suggests indifference to morphological detail. Archives of natural history 34: 174–191. See p. 176 and references therein.

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