Jon Berg Fine Art
Nuremberg Chronicles original illustrated 1493 woodcut leaf from landmark early printed book

Nuremberg Chronicles original illustrated 1493 woodcut leaf from landmark early printed book

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Directory: Traditional Collectibles: Books: Manuscripts: Pre 1492: Item # 1423718

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The Nuremberg Chronicles is considered a landmark work in the history of the printed book, and an example of incunabulum (book printed before the year 1500). Described in Wikipedia as essentially a biblical paraphrase, and a history of the known world to that date, it is one of the most extensively illustrated books of the 15th century, considered one of the first to successfully integrate illustrations and text. Printed on high quality rag paper that has survived the centuries, in both Latin and German versions, it was published by Hartmann Schedel (1440-1514), a medical doctor, humanist, and book collector from Nuremberg, then one of the centers of humanism in the Holy Roman Empire. The work is notable for its illustrations of the major cities of the known world at that time (Western Europe east to Constantinople). It is estimated that 1400 to 1500 copies were printed in Latin, each consisting of over 300 pages. Over the centuries many if not most of the copies have been broken up, the individual leafs offered as decorative prints, many with later hand coloring, as is the case in this example. Surprisingly, considering the age and importance in the history of printing and bookmaking, the leafs remain today amazingly affordable to collectors. This leaf, with Latin text, is in excellent condition, with four illustrations, apparently dealing with Roman emperor Tiberius and Byzantine emperor Justinian. Two sharp creases in the lower margin might well date to the printing. Measurements 14 3/4" by 9 1/2" inside the mat and 20 1/2" by 14 3/4" framed. Allow for reflections. The apparent browning suggested by the photos is not apparent to the naked eye.