Emperor Maximilian I: Theuerdank

Emperor Maximilian I: Theuerdank – Müller & Schindler – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)

Augsburg (Germany) — 1517

The emperor as a gallant hero in the most important work of the German Renaissance: a chivalric epic with biographical features written by Emperor Maximilian I himself and illustrated with 118 masterly woodcuts

  1. An epic chivalric poem written by Emperor Maximilian I (1459–1519) himself was printed in Nuremberg in 1517

  2. The Kaiser presents his 1477 journey to meet his new bride, Mary of Burgundy, as a chivalric epic

  3. Leading artists of the time contributed to the magnificent manuscript in the form of 118 woodcuts

Emperor Maximilian I: Theuerdank

Formerly 1,490  â‚¬
Special Offer until 01/31/2024 (like new) 499  â‚¬
  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (3)
Description
Emperor Maximilian I: Theuerdank

One of the most important works of the German Renaissance was printed in the year 1517 in Nuremberg: the Theuerdank by Emperor Maximilian I himself! In the famous epic poem, the emperor addresses his journey to meet his new bride, Mary of Burgundy, which is embedded in an environment which is typical for that time – full of adventure and chivalrous virtues. The most important artists of the time, including Hans Burgkmair, Hans Schäufelein, and Leonhard Beck, contributed to the magnificent illustrations in the form of 118 masterful woodcuts that set the poetic events in highly detailed Renaissance landscapes. Hans Schönsperger, Maximilian's imperial book printer from Augsburg, also created a specially designed typeface for the work, which appears particularly calligraphic and exquisite. In light of this abundance of quality, the fact that the specimen housed in the Württembergischen Landesbibliothek in Stuttgart is Hans Burgkmair’s personal copy seems a mere side note, but it makes the history of this specific copy particularly interesting.

Emperor Maximilian I: Theuerdank

One of the most important works of the German Renaissance was printed in the year 1517 in Nuremberg: an epic poem by Emperor Maximilian I himself! Therein the Kaiser addresses his journey to meet his new bride, Mary of Burgundy, which is embedded in an environment which is typical for that time – full of adventure and chivalrous virtues. The most important artists of the time, including Hans Burgkmair, Hans Schäufelein, and Leonhard Beck, contributed to the magnificent illustrations in the form of 118 woodcuts. The Augsburg printer Hans Schönesperger, Maximilian’s imperial book printer, produced the work with a specially designed typeface. In light of this abundance of quality, the fact that the specimen housed in the Württembergischen Landesbibliothek in Stuttgart is Hans Burgkmair’s personal copy seems a mere side note.

The Emperor as Author

In the year 1477, Maximilian I, who would eventually become Holy Roman Emperor, married Mary of Burgundy, the daughter of Charles the Bold. 40 years later, this marriage served as the template for one of the most important pieces of 16th century literature: the epic chivalric poem concerning the adventures of the knight named Theuerdank. The author of this work is Emperor Maximilian I himself – or at the least the overwhelming majority comes from him. Maximilian I (1459–1519) is considered to be the most important ruler of his time, received a humanist education, and was a lover and generous patron of the arts.

The Adventurous Journey to his Bride

In the adventures of the knight Theuerdank, the journey by Maximilian I to meet his first bride, Mary of Burgundy, is described. Serving as the protagonists are the knight Theuerdank – Maximilian himself – and the lady Ernreich – Mary of Burgundy. During his trip to meet his beloved lady, Ernreich, the knight Theuerdank experienced numerous adventures, which he heroically overcomes with chivalric virtues and divine help. Themes typical for the time, such as hunting and tournaments, make up the background of the plot.

The Woodcut Illustrations

This piece of (literary) history is stored in a precious book in Stuttgart’s Württembergischen Landesbibliothek: the personal copy of Hans Burgkmair. Hans Burgkmair was one of the numerous artists who were commissioned to illustrate the imperial epic poem. The most significant artists of their time – alongside Burgkmair, Hans Schäufelein and Leonhard Beckknown were known as the Three Primary Masters – completed 118 woodcuts altogether, which accompany the text.

An Imperial Print Order

The Adventures of the Knight Theurdank were finally printed in Nuremberg in 1517. Hans Schönsperger was responsible for the printing thereof. Schönsperger, who was actually active in Augsburg already, and who Maxmilian named imperial printer in 1508, specifically moved his printing shop to Nuremberg for this publication. The German text of the imperial work was laid out in a specifically designed typeface on a total of 589 pages. Thus arose one of the most important works of German Renaissance art, offering a glimpse into the glimmering time period of the German Renaissance and its chief agents, the great Kaiser Maximilian I above all!

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Kaiser Maximilian der I. - Die Abenteuer des Ritters Theuerdank
Kaiser Maximilians Theuerdank
Size / Format
580 pages / 36.0 × 25.0 cm
Origin
Germany
Date
1517
Language
Illustrations
118 woodcuts
Artist / School

Available facsimile editions:
Emperor Maximilian I: Theuerdank – Müller & Schindler – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Müller & Schindler – Simbach am Inn, 1968
Limited Edition: 250 copies

Emperor Maximilian I: Theuerdank – Müller & Schindler – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Müller & Schindler – Simbach am Inn, 1968
Limited Edition: 550 copies

Emperor Maximilian I: Theuerdank – Müller & Schindler – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Müller & Schindler – Simbach am Inn, 1968
Limited Edition: 50 copies
Detail Picture

Emperor Maximilian I: Theuerdank

The Execution of Unfalo

Despite its grisly theme – a hanging – this superb woodcut demonstrates the artist’s ability to realistically and artfully depict architectures, landscapes, and human figures. In the story, three captains fear the dissolution of their army if Theuerdank (Maximilian) is able to marry his betrothed and attempt to stop his chivalric adventure, but their schemes are foiled and all three are executed. Unfalo, whose name is a variation of the German word for “accident”, meets his end on the gallows.

Emperor Maximilian I: Theuerdank – Müller & Schindler – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Single Page

Emperor Maximilian I: Theuerdank

Theuerdank Jousts with another Knight

Among the many insights into life in the early–16th century that these woodcuts offer, its tournament scenes are among the most entertaining. This scene depicts Theuerdank and another knight in the moment that they have unseated one another. Both figures in full plate armor come crashing to the ground, feet in the air, broken lances flying.

The joust is occurring in the courtyard of a castle, which is partitioned off to separate the spectators from the action. An older, mustachioed man armed with a sword and a young page with a staff officiate the joust while two musicians, a male drummer and a female flautist, perform from a window in the background. The woodcut is remarkable for its detail, dynamism, spatiality, and perspective.

Emperor Maximilian I: Theuerdank – Müller & Schindler – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Facsimile Editions

#1 Kaiser Maximilians Theuerdank (Leather Binding)

Müller & Schindler – Simbach am Inn, 1968

Publisher: Müller & Schindler – Simbach am Inn, 1968
Limited Edition: 250 copies
Binding: Embossed leather Protected in a cloth slipcase with the commentary volume
Commentary: 1 volume (40 pages) by Heinz Engels, Elisabeth Geck, and Theodor H. Musper
Language: German
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Formerly 1,490  â‚¬
Special Offer until 01/31/2024 (like new) 499  â‚¬

#2 Kaiser Maximilians Theuerdank (Linen Binding)

Müller & Schindler – Simbach am Inn, 1968

Publisher: Müller & Schindler – Simbach am Inn, 1968
Limited Edition: 550 copies
Binding: Grey Linen Protected in a cloth slipcase with the commentary volume
Commentary: 1 volume (40 pages) by Heinz Engels, Elisabeth Geck, and Theodor H. Musper
Language: German
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Facsimile Copy Available!
Price Category: €
(under 1,000€)

#3 Kaiser Maximilians Theuerdank (Parchment Binding)

Müller & Schindler – Simbach am Inn, 1968

Publisher: Müller & Schindler – Simbach am Inn, 1968
Limited Edition: 50 copies
Binding: Parchment Protected in a cloth slipcase with the commentary volume
Commentary: 1 volume (40 pages) by Heinz Engels, Elisabeth Geck, and Theodor H. Musper
Language: German
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Facsimile Copy Available!
Price Category: €€
(1,000€ - 3,000€)
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