George Castriot - Skanderbeg (1405-1468)
Author: Dominicus CUSTOS (1560–1612), engraver; Giovanni Battista FONTANA (1541-1587), drafts.
Place and Year: Augsburg: Baur (Agricola) 1603.
Technique: Copper engraving, printed from both sides (Very Good, old manuscript number in the upper left corner) 46,5 x 33,5 cm (19 x 13.2 inches).
A beautiful large Renaissance portrait showcases George Castriot - Skanderbeg (1405-1468), Albanian military leader and national hero.
The portrait was engraved by Dominicus Custos (1560-1612) and was published in a book Der Aller Durchleuchtigisten und Grossmächtigen Kayser, by Jakob Schrenck von Notzing (1539 - 1612). The book included portraits based on the wall paintings of the so-called Spanish Hall in the castle Ambras near Innsbruck in Austria. The hall was painted in by Giovanni Battista Fontana (1541-1587) from Verona, with the portraits of the greatest contemporary and historical military leaders. Schrenck von Notzing’s book was published in two editions. The first one, Armamentarium Heroicum, was printed in 1601 in Latin language, with biographies of represented military leaders on the back of the portraits. The second edition in German language (Der Aller Durchleuchtigisten und Grossmächtigen Kayser, Fürsten, Grafen, Herren, vom Adel wahrhafftige Bildtnussen und kurtze Beschreibungen ihrer Thaten und Handlungen) printed in 1603 included identical portraits, but the texts on reverse don’t match the portraits, as the text, printed on the right side, corresponded to the portrait on the left, and to the portrait printed on its back.
The book, commissioned by Ferdinand II of Tyrol to commemorate his art collection, is known as the first printed illustrated art and museum catalogue in the world.