Errant Images

Illustrating an Early Modern German Pliny

  • Christopher D. Johnson (Autor/in)

Identifier (Artikel)


This article contends that woodcuts in a partial German translation of Pliny’s Naturalis historia function as what Aby Warburg called Bilderfahrzeuge (image vehicles). Translated and compiled by Johann Heyden, illustrated by Jost Amman, Virgil Solis, and others, and published by Sigmund Feyerabend in 1565, 1571, and 1584, Bücher und schrifften von der Natur art und eigentschafft der Creaturen […] features “description” and “ornament,” but rarely epistemological rigor. Specifically, its zoological images are “true” for their aesthetic, pragmatic, and theological value. That most of these images previously appeared in other books published by Feyerabend, in Thierbuch Albert Magni (1545) and Gessner’s Historia animalium (1551–1557), confirms their mobility was prized more than their accuracy.


Plinius der Ältere, Naturgeschichte, Übersetzung, Jost Amman, Holzschnitte, Bilderfahrzeuge