Title Page Design by Hans Holbein the Younger
German New Testament.
Das Neuw Testament recht grüntlich teütscht.
Basel: Adam Petri, 1525. (BRA0269/C)
As with the majority of books published before the Reformation, early printed Bibles did not include formal title pages. Instead, these texts began with an elaborate initial introducing St. Jerome’s prologue to the text. As printed title pages gained in popularity and formality, Bibles began to incorporate title pages with elaborate woodcut borders and illustrations. This 1525 Basel edition of Luther’s German New Testament includes an especially handsome title page carved from a woodblock by Hans Lützelburger (ca. 1495–1526) after an original design by Hans Holbein the Younger (1497–1543). St. Peter with his key and St. Paul with his sword stand in architectural niches to either side of the title, while the symbols of the four evangelists occupy the corners of the composition. The armorial device of the Swiss city of Basel appears at top center, with the printer Adam Petri’s device at the bottom.