The most important legacy of the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II is the Mira calligraphiae monumenta
, a manuscript comprised of illuminated pages of calligraphy. Around 1561 a master calligrapher wrote the text as proof of his preeminence among scribes. After his death, a master illustrator was employed to illuminate his writing, and the outcome is a rare combination of words and images in small-scale drawings--considered one of the wonders of Renaissance Europe. This book culls different plates from the collection that are each unique, consisting of lavishly executed text in Roman and Hebrew letters accompanied by realistic and detailed drawings of plants, animals, and insects.
From Library Journal
Demeude's preoccupation with letters has led him to bring together illuminated initials and ornamental characters from 12 centuries of alphabets and typography, ranging from 8th-century sacred manuscripts to 20th-century mass-produced postcards. Included are samples from over 100 alphabets created by such artists as Durer, Holbein, Daumier, and Kate Greenaway. The animated letters may be draped with the human form, used to offer historical or biblical scenes, or entwined with naturalistic scenes. While the accompanying historical notes and essays are succinct, the visuals will be of the most value as a study collection. The Getty's diminutive (51/4" x 71/4") volumes contain reproductions and notes on calligraphy and miniature paintings from a work commissioned by the court of Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II during the 16th century. Currently in the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Mira calligraphiae monumenta (Model Book of Calligraphy) is the combined effort of master calligrapher Georg Bocskay and court artist Joris Hoefnagel. Considered one of the most precious books of the European Renaissance, it represents the transition from medieval European manuscript illumination to the emergence of the floral still life genre of the early 17th century. Nature Illuminated contains reproductions of 41 manuscript pages with meticulous studies of flora and fauna. An Abecedarium contains 38 illuminated reproductions of Roman capital and Gothic lowercase letters. These unique titles are best suited to specialized art and design collections.?Judith Yankeilun Lind, Roseland Free
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.