Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

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Title page (III. Terra. Hexaedron)
  • Jost Amman, artist
    1539–1591
    born: Zurich, Old Swiss Confederacy (present-day Switzerland) ; died: Nuremberg, Holy Roman Empire (present-day Germany) ; active: Holy Roman Empire (
    Wenzel Jamnitzer
    1507 or 1508–1585
    born: Vienna, Holy Roman Empire (present-day Austria) ; died: Nuremberg, Holy Roman Empire (present-day Germany)
  • Title page (III. Terra. Hexaedron), 1568
  • Perspectiva corporum regularium (Perspective of Ruled Shapes)
  • Where object was made: Nuremberg, Holy Roman Empire (present-day Germany)
  • engraving
  • Plate Mark/Block Dimensions: 260 x 180 mm
    Plate Mark/Block Dimensions: 10 1/4 x 7 1/16 in
    Sheet/Paper Dimensions: 274 x 191 mm
    Sheet/Paper Dimensions: 10 13/16 x 7 1/2 in
    Mat Dimensions: 19 x 14 in
  • Museum purchase: Letha Churchill Walker Memorial Art Fund
  • Not on display
  • 2014.0313.12
Label Text
Literature
Exhibitions
Catalogue raisonné

Exhibition Label:
"Big Botany: Conversations with the Plant World", 27-Mar-2018
These etchings by Jost Amman render the five Platonic solids and the elements that were associated with them from antiquity through the Renaissance. There are exactly five Platonic solids, defined as polyhedra with equivalent faces composed of congruent convex regular polygons. Remarkably, knowledge of this special group of solids was known 1,000 years before Plato in Neolithic Scotland.

Amman’s etchings are renderings of designs by goldsmith and printmaker Wenzel Jamnitzer, and they are an eloquent expression of the idea that all existence derives from fundamental mathematical principles. In addition to the creation of unique, inventive metalworks and designs, Jamnitzer also created mounts for naturalia to be included in curiosity cabinets. Metallurgical and astronomical equipment and life-casts of reptiles, insects, and other small animals produced by his workshop testify to Jamnitzer’s diverse scientific and artistic interests. In 1568, Jamnitzer published his Perspectiva Corporum Regularium (Perspective of Ruled Shapes), the celebrated collection of studies of various polyhedra, which includes these etchings, among others. For the title page for Earth, Jamnitzer turned to botanical imagery, implying the mathematical underpinnings of botanical form.

Exhibition Label:
"Terra Anima", 19-Sep-2017
Amman was a 16th-century painter and printmaker who executed W. Jamnitzer’s famous book Perspectiva corporum regularium (Perspective of Ruled Shapes), which depicts five geometrical bodies known as Platonic solids, considered to be the building
blocks of the material world. The first four are associated with the elements (fire, air, earth, and water)—pictured here in alignment with the exhibition’s theme, earth, associated with the hexahedron.
In this work, Jamnitzer exhibits knowledge of both Platonic form
and Euclidean geometry, illustrating the Renaissance obsession
with geometric and perspectival rendering.

Mobile App Exhibition Label:
"Big Botany: Conversations with the Plant World", 27-Mar-2018
These etchings by Jost Amman render the five Platonic solids and the elements that were associated with them from antiquity through the Renaissance. There are exactly five Platonic solids, defined as polyhedra with equivalent faces composed of congruent convex regular polygons. Remarkably, knowledge of this special group of solids was known 1,000 years before Plato in Neolithic Scotland.

Amman’s etchings are renderings of designs by goldsmith and printmaker Wenzel Jamnitzer, and they are an eloquent expression of the idea that all existence derives from fundamental mathematical principles. In addition to the creation of unique, inventive metalworks and designs, Jamnitzer also created mounts for naturalia to be included in curiosity cabinets. Metallurgical and astronomical equipment and life-casts of reptiles, insects, and other small animals produced by his workshop testify to Jamnitzer’s diverse scientific and artistic interests. In 1568, Jamnitzer published his Perspectiva Corporum Regularium (Perspective of Ruled Shapes), the celebrated collection of studies of various polyhedra, which includes these etchings, among others. For the title page for Earth, Jamnitzer turned to botanical imagery, implying the mathematical underpinnings of botanical form.