Lübeck Low German Bible of 1494

[Low German Bible]. De Biblie mit vlitigher achtinghe, recht na deme latine in dudesck auerghesettet.
Lübeck: Steffen Arndes, 19 November 1494. (06174)

The Lübeck edition of the Low German Bible of 1494 is known for the surpassing beauty and sophistication of its woodcut illustrations. The ninety-seven large woodcuts (some of which were repeated to provide 152 illustrations) were designed by at least two artists, both of whom remain anonymous. The primary illustrator, who was responsible for most of the woodcuts in the Pentateuch, may be considered the first great master of printed Bible illustration. His innovative artistry, exemplified by the exhibited scenes of Moses Raising the Brazen Serpent (Numbers 21) and the Story of Balaam (Numbers 22), provided the biblical figures with expressive postures, placed them within convincing landscapes, and cast them in a consistent light defined by subtle shading. The effect is so rich that few early owners of this Bible saw a need to apply color to its images.

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Fifteenth Century
Lübeck Low German Bible of 1494