Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Nuremberg Chronicle

Now, this is not the type of thing I plan to normally write about. However, when antiquities are in the news it's always fun to look at the new, old "it" item that causes a rat race of cleaning out one's attic. This week in the news; Sandy, Utah becomes a well known home of what appears to be a genuine German Language Edition of the Nuremberg Chronicle. So what exactly is this 500 year-old book that has everyone so excited? Written by Hartmann Schedel it has been considered one of the earliest lavishly illustrated books to be produced after the printing press during the incunabula period. With over 652 wooden block designs mixed and mingled together to create around 1800 pictures, its more a work of art then anything. Ninety-one city scenes are portrayed from places such as Athens, Paris, Rome, Vienna, Jerusalem, Venice, Prague, Munich, Nuremberg, Florence, and more. If you think about how difficult travel was back then its really amazing that so many vivid landscapes can accurately be represented. Published in 1493 (by Anton Koberger) in Latin and German, it acts as a history of the world separated into seven section.
1. Creation to the Deluge
2. Deluge to the Birth of Abraham
3. Birth a Abraham to the Kingdom of David
4. Kingdom of David to the Babylonian Captivity
5. Babylonian Captivity to the Birth of Christ
6. Birth of Christ to the Present (a great majority of the book)
7. Arrival of the Antichrist and the Last Judgement

The book itself is rare and could cost a person thousand's of dollars. However, it has been published by Taschen with an English introduction by Stephan Fussel which is a bit easier to find and will only cost you hundred's of dollars (around $482 used on Amazon). Sounds like an awesome deal! This is the type of antique that you most likely will have to hit up a museum to see unless you know an avid book collector with high-end taste. Below are some pictures of the pain staking, intricate detail:

Page depicting Constantinople with added hand-colouring
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. April, 2011

World Map
[Hartmann Schedel], Das Buch der Chroniken und Geschichten (Nuremberg: Anton Koberger, 1493) Facsimile, with an introduction and appendix by Stephen Fussel (Chronicle of the World). Cologne: Taschen, 2001.

Photo by Brian Skoloff, The Associated Press. April, 25, 2011
 More detailed history
Link to the met site which has great dipections:
Full color copy with beatuiful pictures:
Taschen: Introduction by Stephan Fussel

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