Riepenhausen, Franz & Johann. Peintures de Polygnote à Delphes dessinées et gravées d'après la description de Pausanias par F. & I. Riepenhausen.

Rome, k. k. Hof- und Staatsdruckerei, 1829.

Oblong folio (ca. 530 x 695 mm). 2 vols. in one. 35 (instead of 38) numbered coloured lithographed double-page plates (including lithograph tile-pages). Contemporary half calf over marbled boards with giltstamped spine and spine-title.


Fanciful reconstruction of the lost frescoes created by the ancient Greek painter Polygnotus in the Lesche of the Knidians in Delphi. Essentially "a product of pure fantasy in the late classicist style" (Thieme/B.), this splendid cycle shows scenes from Ulysses' Descent into the Underworld and the Sack of Troy. The illustrations were inspired by the careful description of Polygnotus' paintings as observed by the 2nd century traveller Pausanias, and were carried out by the German artist brothers Franz and Johannes Riepenhausen. As early as 1804, they had sent Goethe a series of 12 'Polygnotan' drawings which inspired his long essay on the work of Polygnotus in 1804.

The first part of the Riepenhausens' work was printed in 1805 in the form of outline etchings, containing only 15 plates showing the Sack of Troy; the second part, illustrating Ulysses' descent into Hades, appeared in 1826. The present edition is the first complete one.

Part II lacks plates X, XV and XVIII. Binding somewhat rubbed, paper somewhat foxed throughout; 5 plates in part II show a small marginal tear each, not touching image. A Jesuit library's ownership stamp to title-page. A fine copy.

Pollen 1740. Cf. Nagler XIV, 469. Thieme/B. XXVIII, 337 (1805 edition). OCLC 185546420.