Decker, Coenraet (1650-1685)

Frontispiece/titlepage [Collection of Metamorphoses].

Antoninus Liberalis was an ancient Greek grammarian and mythographer, probably of Antonine times (AD 100 and 200). His only surviving work, the ‘Metamorphoseon synagoge’, (collection of metamorphoses) survives in a single manuscript of the later ninth century, now in the Palatine Library in Heidelberg; it contains 41 briefly summarised tales about mythical metamorphoses effected by offended deities, unique in that they are written down in prose, not verse. Many of the transformations in this compilation are found nowhere else, and some may simply be inventions of Antoninus. The manner of the narrative is laconic and conversational prose. The German philologist Wilhelm Xylander (Holzmann), 1532-1576, was a professor of Greek at Heidelberg. He published the editio princeps of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (1558), and of Antoninus Liberalis in 1568. ‘He made good use of the manuscript accessible to him, and also gave proof of a singular acumen in the emendation of texts’. (Sandys 2,270). The Dutch schoolmaster Thomas Muncker, or Munckerus, was Rector of the Schola Latina of Delft from 1667 till 1680. The edition this frontispiece is taken is from 1676 and is thus the first edition with Muncker’s notes. Saxe called him ‘cathedra Academica dignissimus’. (Van der Aa, 12/2, 1148) He is best known for his edition of the ‘Mythographi Latini’, Amsterdam 1681, where his portrait is found.

The frontispiece is devised as a hunting scene in the woods, where the lady and the man riding on horses are clad in 17th century clothes. Thick vegetation behind the couple.

Signed at bottom center: “C. Decker jn et fe.”.

Etching on paper, total: 116 x 68 mm; cut within plate mark on the left side. Nicely contrasted image, in good condition. Publishing date 1676.

Incl. BTW  30,25

Excl. BTW  25,00