852 RARE: The Monthly Special – A Treat from the Early Days of Printing

852 RARE: The Monthly Special – A Treat from the Early Days of Printing

Newe Reformacion (Nuremberg, 1484): Hand-Colored Woodcut by Michael Wohlgemut

Newe Reformacion (Nuremberg, 1484): Hand-Colored Woodcut by Michael Wohlgemut

Regular readers of 852 RARE on Et Seq may wonder why the Weekly Special, featuring cool and unusual items from Historical & Special Collections, has morphed into a Monthly Special. We made the change because our department is undergoing a physical plant project that has required us to send many of our materials offsite from December 2011 until August 2012. Until our collection is back in place, we’ll still share news of the wonderful and the weird – just not as frequently. We hope you enjoy our posts!

Newe Reformacion (Nuremberg, 1484): Cover

Newe Reformacion (Nuremberg, 1484): Cover

December’s Monthly Special features the Newe Reformacion, a collection of the city of Nuremberg’s laws. It was printed in Nuremberg in 1484 by Anton Koberger. Books printed in Europe before 1501 are called incunables or incunabula, meaning that they were printed in the earliest days, or “cradle,” of printing.

Our copy features beautifully tooled front and back covers, an illuminated initial capital, and most notably of all, a hand-colored woodcut which shows the Nuremberg city arms flanked by St. James the Greater and St. Lawrence. Nuremberg artist Michael Wohlgemut (1434-1519) created the woodcut. Primarily a painter, Wohlgemut also produced woodcuts for book illustration and taught Albrecht Dürer, who went on to much greater artistic fame.

Newe Reformacion (Nuremberg, 1484): Detail

Newe Reformacion (Nuremberg, 1484): Detail

 

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