Epistolary of Frederick the Wise

Epistolary of Frederick the Wise

Nuremberg (Germany) — 1507–1509

A magnificent prayer book for the Prince-Elector of Saxony featuring a splendid miniature based on a woodcut by Albrecht Dürer

  1. Frederick III (1463-1525) was a generous patron of the arts during the German Renaissance

  2. The text consists of epistle readings for 18 feast days beginning at Christmas

  3. It is adorned by 3 full-page miniatures, 17 historiated initials, and rich tendril frames

Epistolary of Frederick the Wise

Ms. EL. F. 2 Thuringer Universitats- und Landesbibliothek Jena (Jena, Germany)
  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (2)
Description
Epistolary of Frederick the Wise

This gorgeous, well-preserved manuscript has been stored in the Jena University Library since 1547 and is an exemplary specimen of the German Renaissance. The Prince-Elector of Saxony, Frederick III (1463-1525), commissioned the manuscript ca. 1507 from the Nuremberg workshop of Jakob Elsner. In addition to the richly adorned text pages at the beginning of each pericope, 3 full-page miniatures and 17 historiated initials embellish the manuscript. The text consists of epistle readings for 18 feast days between Christmas and the celebration of a church consecration.

Epistolary of Frederick the Wise

The Epistolary of Frederick the Wise is a magnificent private liturgical book famous for a full-page miniature of the Entombment and Lamentation of Christ in a mountainous landscape based on a woodcut by the great Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528). Frederick III (1463-1525), Prince-Elector of Saxony, was a generous patron of the arts during the German Renaissance who also owned one of the most extensive collections of relics and commissioned the Nuremberg workshop of Jakob Elsner (d. 1517) with the project ca. 1507. This magnificent manuscript, created on the eve of the Reformation, has been stored in the Jena University Library since 1547 and as a result is in an excellent state of preservation.

Gorgeous Readings for Christian Festivals

3 full-page miniatures, 17 historiated initials, and rich tendril frames filled with people and animals for the text pages presenting the beginning of each pericope adorn the splendid manuscript created at the behest of Frederick. Historiated initials with depictions of Saint Paul, prophets, or kings from the Bible are also found at the beginning of each pericope, which are epistle readings for 18 feast days between Christmas and the celebration of a church consecration. The coat of arms and various heraldic symbols associated with the Saxon ruling house are depicted in full-page miniatures along with a miniature of angels holding the instruments of Christ’s suffering, the so-called Arma Christi.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
The Festival Epistolary of Frederick III the Wise
Epistolario Festivo de Federico III de Sajonia
Das Fest-Epistolar Friedrichs des Weisen
Fest-Epistolar Kurfürst Friedrich des Weisen
Size / Format
76 pages / 35.0 × 25.0 cm
Origin
Germany
Date
1507–1509
Style
Language
Script
Gothic Textura
Illustrations
Numerous historiated initials and artfully inhabited marginalia
Content
Epistle readings for 18 feast days, from Christmas to the celebration of a church consecration
Artist / School

Available facsimile editions:
Facsimile Editions

#1 Das Fest-Epistolar Friedrichs des Weisen: Handschrift Ms.EL.F.2 aus dem Bestand der Universitätsbibliothek Jena

Edition Leipzig – Leipzig, 2005

Publisher: Edition Leipzig – Leipzig, 2005
Commentary: 1 volume by Irmgard Kratzsch and Rainer Behrends
Languages: German, Spanish
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.

#2 Epistolario Festivo de Federico III de Sajonia

Edition Leipzig – Leipzig, 1989

Publisher: Edition Leipzig – Leipzig, 1989
Limited Edition: 900 copies
Commentary: 1 volume by Rainer Behrends and Irmgard Kratzsch
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. Co-edition of the publishers Edition Leipzig and Editorial Casariego (100 copies destined for the Spanish market and 800 copies for the German market).
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