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Saturday 16 December 2017

Virgil Solis’ woodcut, “David and Goliath”, 1560

Virgil Solis (15141562)

“David and Goliath”, 1560, published by Sigmund Feierabend (1528–1590) and printed by Johann Rasch (fl.1556–1562) and David Zöpfel (aka David Zephelius) (fl.c.1555–1563) as an illustration to the biblical story of David "defeating"/killing Goliath (1 Samuel 17), from the series of 220 woodcut illustrations for Veit Dietrich’s (aka Vitus Theodorus; Vitus Diterichus) (1506–1549) “Summaria vber die gantze Biblia: das Alte vnd Newe Testament …” (Summary of the whole of Bible: the Old and New Testament …). 
(For more details of this publication see:

Note: regarding the publication in which this print features, the curator of the British Museum advises: “The first edition was published in 1560. [This print with its strapwork frame features in] the second, enlarged edition, with 74 new images and woodcut borders from the 1561 Bible. The New Testament part is wrongly dated 1552 on the title-page.” (

Woodcut on early laid paper trimmed to the platemark with letterpress German text verso (as published).
Size: (sheet) 12.2 x 15.5 cm
Signed in the block with the artist’s monogram, “VS”, within the centre image at lower left.

TIB 19 (Part 1) (9) 1.50 (316) (Jane S Peters & Walter L Strauss [Eds.] 1987, “The Illustrated Bartsch: German Masters of the Sixteenth Century”, vol. 19 [Part 1], p. 308); Paisey 2002 363 (David Paisey 2002, “Catalogue of German printed books to 1900”, London, BMP); Hollstein 14.1 (device); Hollstein 19

Note that the strapwork borderline shown in this impression is the same as that used in TIB 1.39 (316) but is different to TIB 19 (Part 1) (9) 1.50 (316). I believe that the choice of woodcut frame was not consistent in each edition.

Condition: near faultless early impression in near pristine condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, stains or foxing), trimmed to the strapwork borderline

I am selling this superb woodcut created in 1560 for a total cost of AU$128 (currently US$97.99/EUR83.38/GBP73.56 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this small but powerful print, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

Strapwork borders, such as the one framing this scene of David preparing his sling shot with a rock that is only slightly smaller than the size of his head, are interesting developmentst to the art of book illustration in the late 16th century. In one sense the decorative borders give gravitas to the meanings expressed by the images that they frame (i.e. the scene is made to appear “important”).  In another sense the ornamental borders separate the portrayed scene from the written descriptions so that an image may be “read” in a slightly independent and self-contained way from the accompanying text.

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