The Nuremberg Chronicle

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Hartmann Schedel (1440-1514). Liber chronicarum. Nuremberg: Anton Koberger, for Sebald Schreyer and Sebastian Kammermeister, 12 July 1493. (B-03)

The “Nuremberg Chronicle,” a history of the world from the Creation to the year 1493, was the most profusely illustrated book printed during the fifteenth century. It contains more than 900 different woodcuts by Michael Wohlgemut, Hans Pleydenwurff, and the 21-year-old Albrecht Dürer. The publisher, Anton Koberger (Dürer’s godfather), was the most successful printing entrepreneur of the period.

The most famous of the woodcuts include two-page views of several major European cities, large illustrations of the Six Days of Creation, and the elaborate frontispiece, which depicts the Creator enthroned above a pair of shields presented by wild men. In Bridwell Library’s hand-colored copy, an illuminator supplied these empty shields with the coats-of-arms of the book’s owners, Hartmut XIII von Kronberg (1517–1591) and his wife, Margarete Brendel von Homburg, influential nobles from Kronberg in Taunus, Germany. The late sixteenth-century coloring indicates that the appreciation of the “Nuremberg Chronicle” continued for many decades after its publication.

 The Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Bible Collection.

The Nuremberg Chronicle