The Nuremberg Chronicle

The Nuremberg Chronicle
The Nuremberg Chronicle

There are old books, both manuscripts and old incunabula, that are true works of art. Today we want to talk about one of these incunabula books, that is, immediately after the invention of the printing press in 1453. It is known as the Nuremberg Chronicle, which bears the name of precisely the same German city of the inventor of the printing press, Johannes Guttemberg, since he appeared there in the year 1493.


The Seventh Day in the Nuremberg Chronicle

In that city by then there were already several renowned publishers such as Anton Koberger, who was commissioned with the project by the merchant Sebald Schereyer. To these names must be added that of the humanist Harmant Schedel creator of the Latin texts, later translated into German. And we must also mention Wilhelm Pleydenwurff and Michael Wolgemut, the authors of more than 1800 illustrations distributed throughout the 600 pages of the work. This last artist, Wolgemut, is worth knowing, since it was in his workshop in Nuremberg that the great Albert Dürer painted his first works, and it is even not ruled out that he also participated in some of the illustrations in the book.

As we have already said, the story tells us the history of the world. Of course, all this with the religious criteria of the time. Something that is easily verified in the illustration that we include here of the Seventh Day of Creation,where you can see the religious and geocentric conception of the world that was held at that time.

To verify the religious conception of the book, it is enough to see that the whole story is divided into seven chapters that are:

– From Creation to the Universal Flood

– From Noah to the birth of Abraham

– From Abraham to the reign of King David

– From David to exile in Babylon

– From Babylon to the birth of Christ

– From the birth of Christ to 1490

– View of the end of the world and the Last Judgment

In short, there are many religious images that are seen in the book, but there are also several views of cities, which are represented as they were at the end of the 15th century. There are several German cities, including Nuremberg itself, but we also see other Polish ones, or there's Prague, Jerusalemand several of Italy.


Florence in the Nuremberg Chronicle

Among them the city of Florence, the great mecca of the Renaissance in those same years. And the truth is that it looks very similar to what it would have and its most emblematic monuments are easily identified, such as the Duomo de Santa María de las Flores with its great dome and the Campanile de Giotto, so it is clear that whoever painted the image had possibly traveled to the transalpine country.

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