St. Bernardino of Siena
St. Bernardino of Siena (1380–1444).
Sermones de festivitatibus Virginis gloriosae.
Nuremberg: Friedrich Creussner, 1493. (07061)
This is the first edition of a collection of eleven sermons composed by St. Bernardino of Siena in praise of the Virgin Mary. An immensely popular preacher and Franciscan missionary, St. Bernardino came to be regarded as the “Apostle of Italy.” The book features a single woodcut by Michael Wolgemut (1434–1519), the noted illustrator of the Nuremberg Chronicle (1493) and teacher of the young Albrecht Dürer. The woodcut depicts St. Mary as the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception, crowned with twelve stars and standing on the crescent moon (Revelation 12:1). To the left, St. Bernardino preaches the words Hec est stella maris (“She is the Star of the Sea”), the theme of the book’s opening sermon. The star depicted over his head is said to have appeared when he first gave this sermon. The final leaf of this copy was inscribed in 1499 by its owner, Lucas Teintzer, Prior of the Benedictine abbey of Plankstetten in Bavaria.