"Ihr sollt sein Portrait seh'n! - sein
Portrait! O, mich dünkt immer, die
Gestalt des Menschen ist der beste Text
zu allem, was sich über ihn empfinden
und sagen lässt."
"You should see his portrait! - his portrait! -
Oh, it always seemed to me, that a man's
countenance is the best text for everything
that can be felt and said about him."
A new edition of this iconographic collection has been due for nearly three decades! Serious financial difficulties, however, which arose in the wake of the World War and then again, the unexpected European conflict of very recent memory have continually prevented the reissue of this costly publication.
If these obstacles have now at length been successfully over-come, I owe so “happy a consummation” to the munificent gifts of a subsidy of the American Philological Association to one of its oldest members and finally to the Columbia University Press, New York, which on recommendation of President Butler accepted the work for publication. To these generous donors and kindly sponsors, I again express my profoundest thanks in this more conspicuous place of a preface, for without their combined support the strenuous labor of many years would have been spent all in vain in an undertaking, which I cannot but think will meet with an even more favorable reception than its still inadequate predecessor, for that first attempt was naturally more in the nature of an experiment.
The number of portraits was, of course, primarily contingent upon the necessarily limited pecuniary resources at my disposal. But apart from this inevitable restriction I was also no little handicapped by the fact that it was unfortunately not vouchsafed to me during the last 30 years to inspect all the numerous libraries, national, urban, academic, and other well stocked iconographic depositories in Europe and America. Non cuivis homini contingit adire Corinthum. I was, therefore, compelled to resort to a very extended and time-devouring correspondence, in order to secure as many portraits as possible out of my long list of pictorial desiderata – it contained no fewer than 800 names – after having previously, of course, examined all printed collections accessible to me, those of the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries not always proving, as might indeed have been expected, either numerically or artistically as satisfactory as one could wish.
The replies to my epistolary inquiries from European countries and the U.S.A. exhibited without exception an interest so intense and so willing a purpose to aid this undertaking, that it was possible to accumulate within a relatively short time, although still-living scholars were again for obvious reasons excluded, 400 more pictures than were contained in the former edition. The original 160 were, moreover, in about 90 instances replaced by better portraits, or, where such were not available, invariably reproduced from entirely new blocks. In spite of this notable accretion and typographical improvement throughout, which features virtually constitute a new book, I was still reluctantly compelled to forego a number of well-known classicists of whom no pictures ever existed, as in the case of Henri Estienne, Lodewijk Caspar Valckenaer, Valens Acidalius and Jacob Bernays or, if such were still extant, their present whereabouts have so far eluded my long continued search, as Plato, Cyriac of Ancona, Nicolaus Beraldus, Gabriel Brotier, Henry Fynes Clinton, Peter Elmsley, Rudolf Hercher, John William Donaldson, Raphael Kühner, Friedrich Henry Marvell Blaydes, Albert Curtis Clark, Georg Ludolf Dissen, Anton Westermann, Lucian Müller, Adolf Ebert, and René Cagnat.
Some portraits again, although at my disposal, represented the scholars at an age long before they had reached their prime, as e.g. Theodor Bergk, Samuel Henry Butcher, Ingram Bywater, Elmer Truesdell Merrill. In this predicament, I had no other alternative than to add them to my collection rather than render them conspicuous by their absence. Finally, I must not conceal the fact, that some portraits have been included, particularly of the period of the Italian Renaissance, although their authenticity has repeatedly been called into question, I have, however, no hesitation in stating, after an unbiased and careful reexamination of the alleged evidence hitherto adduced, that an engraver may perhaps occasionally idealized, a practice said to be not wholly unknown even in our times, or slightly adjusted the features to some contemporaneous scholastic type.
A downright, deliberate forgery has certainly not as yet in a single instance been sufficiently demonstrated to carry conviction. Even so widely circulated a portrait as that of the Dutch scholar Tiberius Hemsterhusius – I have come across no fewer than 20 reprints – in all probability owed its false adscription initially to an inexcusable error, for the picture referred to bears not the remotest resemblance to the splendid and fully authenticated paintings in Leiden and Groningen, one of which has now been reproduced from a photograph made expressly for this collection. The picture of Reuchlin is here also published for the first time. I discovered it accidentally in an old “curiosity shop” in Nuremberg many years ago amid a number of antiquarian books. I have been unable to detect in it any indications that might warrant even the suspicion of a forgery by a contemporary artist who could not, in fact, have any conceivable motive for the fraud, not to mention the great risk of immediate detection. Nor would the arbitrary assumption of a later date militate against the genuineness of the portrait. On the contrary, its authenticity is confirmed by the apparently insignificant observation, that the use of denatus est in the sense of mortuus est, though common enough in the 15th and 16th century, is extremely rare and quite obsolete later, so that a would-be forger in attaching a date to his engraving would all but certainly not have hit upon so antiquated a locution, even supposing, that it was still known to him.
As a matter of fact, the great majority of the pictures in the present edition has not hitherto appeared in print and even of those already published by far the larger number is widely scattered and, therefore, not easily accessible, if at all. I am inclined to regard this circumstance as one of the outstanding and intrinsically valuable features of this collection which would alone more than justify its publication.
Contrary to the practice followed in the previous edition the names of the original engravers, painters and other craftsmen, so far as they are still ascertainable, have now been omitted, with but a few exceptions, where the artists are still famous. This alteration is based upon several, but equally valid, considerations. In the first place, consistency would have involved the absurdity of mentioning all the photographers of the modern pictures as well, unless questions of copyright or the express desire of the donors left me no alternative in the matter. In the second place, I wished to emphasize thereby, that this portrait gallery, unlike the works of a Bernoulli or Visconti, never was intended to serve as a basic resource for researches in the history and development of modern iconography or modes of apparel or hairdressing. Its purpose was and still is not a means to some such end, but a surely not undesirable end in itself, quite in conformity with the acute observation of the elder Pliny, quoted in the title-page, and with the conviction of Goethe, cited above, a noetic coincidence all the more striking, considering the authors and the long chronological interval between their original utterances.
The fine bust of Aristotle in the frontispiece was first convincingly shown by Franz Studniczka, Das Bildnis des Aristoteles (Leipzig 1908), page 35, to be his only genuine portrait now extant. It belongs to the Antikensammlung des Kunsthistorischen Museums Wien, whose custodian Dr. Fritz Eichler obligingly photographed for this edition. I do not anticipate, that the truth of the statement of Dio Chrysostom, based, as it was, upon some unknown earlier source, will be seriously questioned or denied and I, therefore, had no scruples in giving to this sculptured bust a very prominent place in an iconographic collection of classical scholars.
It may not be superfluous to add, in conclusion, that in the definitive selection of the pictorial material it was at no time my plan or desire to confine myself rigidly to authors of epoch-making masterpieces, for such outstanding works of genius have naturally always been relatively so few and far between, that an iconographic collection such as this would not have had any plausible raison d’être. Hence I did not hesitate to follow the only historically justifiable method of selection, namely to admit also classical philologians, whose publications, in quantity or quality or in both, were rightly once held in high esteem, when measured by the status and standards of contemporary learning. Doubtless many of these scholars of old are to-day known to but a few, their writings being now very rarely read or, at best, only occasionally consulted. It must, however, not be overlooked, that what was of genuine and permanent value in their virtually forgotten contributions had gradually passed anonymously, as it were, into the very woof and fabric of the philological erudition of later times.
The Biographical, Bibliographical and Necrological Index is an entirely new feature of this edition, and will, it is hoped, prove a welcome addition for the professional classicist, as the interesting, instructive and varied information therein accumulated has not previously been collected elsewhere. The bibliographical survey, albeit necessarily severely condensed, may perhaps also subserve the subsidiary purpose of demonstrating both the justification and objectivity of the pictorial selection as such.
If this finally resulted in a noticeable preponderance of Germanic philologists, a brief explanation may perhaps not be wholly out of place. As I was constantly intent upon a rigid observance of an impartial and neutral attitude, best formulated in Vergil’s well-known line Tros Rutulusne fuat, nullo discrimine movebo, the resultant fact referred to was certainly neither due to any predilection, partiality or prejudice on my part quorum causas procul habeo, nor to influences of my local habitation at the time – a purely accidental circumstance at best. It was entirely based upon a historically established phenomenon, for which I cannot be held responsible, that, beginning in the 19th century until the World War, Germanic classical scholars surpassed in actual numbers as well as in the fecundity and quality of their philological productions the achievements of their coworkers in other lands. If there be anyone disposed to cast doubt upon the truth of this statement, he can very easily verify it by an even cursory and superficial inspection of the Index nominum in vol. III of Sandys’ History of Classical Scholarship, although this once fairly complete survey is now as much out of date as my own previous edition, having been published more than thirty years ago, and many scholars who in the interval had reached their ἀκμή have also passed away since.
While I invariably expressed my gratitude and indebtedness to all who directly or indirectly aided me in my iconographic labors by mentioning their names in the Index, there still remain not a few custodians of libraries, academic colleagues and other friends to whom I am under special obligations, owing to the number of their pictorial contributions and their informatory aid. All these altruistic helpers, I feel, are entitled to thanks rendered more emphatic in print than in private letters.
Of the first mentioned group, I desire to single out: the State and University Libraries of Berlin, Munich and Vienna, the University libraries of Bonn, Columbia (New York), Göttingen, Halle, Harvard (Cambridge, Mass.), Leipzig, the British Museum, the Bibliotheca Ambrosiana, Milan, the Bibliothèque Nationale and Cabinet des Estampes.
Of individual scholars more prominent mention is due to the following: Prof. Maximilian Adler, Prague, Dr. Marcus Boas, Amsterdam, Prof. George M. Calhoun, Univ. of Calif., Berkeley, Dr. A.B. Drachmann, Copenhagen, Prof. Marcel Durry, Paris, Dr. Homer Edmiston, New York, Rector Jan G. Gerretzen, Breda (Holland), Dr. A.S.F. Gow, Trinity College, Cambridge (England), Prof. George L. Hendrickson, Yale Univ., New Haven (Conn.), Prof. Oskar Hey, Munich, Prof. Károly Kerényi, Budapest, Prof. Otto Kern, Halle, Dr. Hermann Kleinknecht, Halle, Prof. Max Lehnerdt, Königsberg in Prussia, Prof. Medea Norsa, Florence, Prof. Frederik Muller, Leiden, Prof. William Abbott Oldfather, Univ. of Illinois (Urbana, U.S.A.), Dr. S.G. Owen, Christ Church, Oxford, Prof. Levi A. Post, Haverford, Pa., Prof. Herbert J. Rose, Univ. of St. Andrews (Scotland), Prof. Mauriz Schuster, Vienna, Prof. Otto Waser, Zürich.
New York Alfred Gudeman